This guy could seriously pick out a pass.
Michael Carrick said goodbye to football back in May and his retirement triggered an outpouring of appreciation for his understated talent.
The West Ham, Spurs and Man United midfielder ended his career with just 34 England caps to his name, the first of which came in February 2001.
Carrick made his Three Lions debut in Sven Goran Eriksson’s first game in charge of England, a 3-0 friendly win against Spain at Villa Park.
He asked to no longer be selected for international duty after claiming that he became depressed while at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
Many believe Carrick was criminally underused by England.
To support this claim, you only have to look at a few of those who made more appearances for the Three Lions…
Stewart Downing – 35 caps
Remember when Downing made England’s Euro 2012 squad after his iconic 2011/12 season.
Despite playing 36 times for Liverpool, he ended the Premier League campaign with literally no goals or assists, yet he still made it on the plane to Poland and Ukraine.
The winger’s saving grace was his very respectable form for England.
Despite not scoring in his 35 caps, the Boro-born man was the only player to contribute to all nine of England’s goals in 2011 in the buildup to the tournament.
For similar results, see also; Andros Townsend.
Shaun Wright-Phillips – 36 caps
Wright-Phillips got his first Three Lions cap in August 2004 with his last one coming October 2010.
Can anyone else not remember a single one of these?
The former Man City and Chelsea man would occasionally show flashes of brilliance, but his international was ultimately underwhelming.
Wright-Phillips managed six goals and three assists in his 36 caps.
The winger was last seen playing for Phoenix Rising FC, a team in the United Soccer League, not MLS.
Danny Welbeck – 41 caps (and counting)
Welbeck’s inclusion in this list is potentially a controversial one.
The Arsenal man has scored 16 goals and in his 41 appearances for the Three Lions, which is a pretty good record considering he frustrating he can be at club level.
Welbeck has been the ‘go to’ player for several England managers in the past, and Gareth Southgate has continued to show faith in the Arsenal forward since he was appointed.
No player receives less backing from the fans on social media when an England squad is announced but there’s something to be said for a player who saves his best form for his country.
Still, seven more caps than Carrick…
Gareth Barry – 53 caps
The Premier League record appearances holder is a player of a similar mould to Carrick… just without the passing range and a few more yellow cards.
Barry was often selected over Carrick to sit deepest in England’s midfield, much to the annoyance of United fans everywhere.
His three goals and six assists in over 50 games for the Three Lions proves his value to the team came in other departments… getting skinned by Thomas Muller for example.
Barry made his last appearance for England in 2012 and, while he certainly had his positive attributes, 53 caps feels like a lot, doesn’t it?
Phil Neville – 59 caps
Not even the best player in his family…
Living in the shadow of brother Gary, Phil did pretty well to rack up over half a century of outings for England.
The former Everton and Man United player was the utility man of England squads gone by, often “doing a job” in midfield or defence when needed.
Neville’s last cap came in 2007 and with this he secured a place in England history.
He and Gary set a new record of 144 appearances, the most by a set of brothers, surpassing the previous record of 141 set by the Charlton brothers, Bobby and Jack.
Carrick’s international career is one that won’t live long in the memory of England fans.
His talents were never fully recognised by international managers, when he should have been a player that sides were built around.
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