The midfielder has not been allowed to imitate his kindred 35-year-old and the arrival to preparing of Bastian Schweinsteiger can barely spell uplifting news for him either.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michael Carr
ick and Bastian Schweinsteiger have 271 international caps, 70 winners’ medals and 48 years of first-team football between them. But the experience of life as a Manchester United veteran is markedly different from one man to the next and, while one has received the unstinting support of his manager and another has this week seen his much-publicised exile ended, the third appears to have been forgotten altogether by Jose Mourinho.
The outpouring of joy on social media at the sight of Schweinsteiger training with the United first team on Monday is to some extent understandable.
But while those who want to see the return of a World Cup winner who came in 15 months ago under much pomp and circumstance are busy rejoicing, how should Carrick feel about the promotion of an injury-prone washout into a squad for which he has played only 12 minutes of league football this season? If even Schweinsteiger is getting a look-in now, when will his time come?
The misuse of the 35-year-old is perhaps even more head-scratching than the ostracism experienced by the German. At least Mourinho acknowledged that he didn’t want Schweinsteiger and stated in no uncertain terms what the future was likely to hold for him. With Carrick, he offered hope by immediately tying him down to a new one-year deal but has since given him only a brief appearance late in a comfortable 4-1 win outside of three cup competitions which he has little interest in winning.
“He is phenomenal but I have to manage him,” Mourinho said of Carrick before Saturday’s 0-0 league draw with Burnley. “I cannot expect from him what I expect from Rashford and Herrera.
“When he’s on the pitch, he gives us important things: stability in our game, mental freedom to the other guys. He’s not just a player, he is someone who has a big understanding of the game and it’s a pity you sometimes cannot stop the clock.