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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Sir Alex Ferguson hails 'outstanding' Michael Carrick ahead of testimonial

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says he always knew midfielder Michael Carrick would be a great success at the club.

Carrick, 35, has won five Premier League titles, three EFL Cups, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League since signing from Tottenham in 2006. And he is set to be honoured for his 11 years at United with a testimonial match at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"One of the things that stuck out to me when we were profiling him and preparing to make a bid was that as a young boy, 16 years of age, he left home to play for West Ham," Ferguson told the United website. "That tells you that the boy had the confidence that he was going to make it.

"A 16-year-old kid from Newcastle going to East London, that's a trek, and it impressed me. From the minute we bought Michael in 2006, his character has always been outstanding. He's a football man and that character, coupled with his ability, made him a certainty to be a big success at United."

Carrick's former United teammate Paul Scholes added: "I remember Michael coming in and taking over the No. 16 shirt from Roy Keane, one of the Premier League's best-ever midfielders. He had big boots to fill, but I think he's proven that he's more than worthy of the shirt. I loved playing with him, at least when I was young enough to still be able to run around a little bit! 

"I always felt comfortable and safe next to him, and he probably didn't get the credit he deserved at the time, but he's starting to get that now. When Michael plays, United usually win, and I like that there's nothing flashy about him. He never broke a sweat, either! He was like a Rolls Royce, just cruising around the football pitch.

Carrick changed the kick-off time of his testimonial due to a benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester terror attack.

The match at Old Trafford, which will feature Manchester United's 2008 Champions League winners against a Carrick all-star XI, will now start at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday rather than 4 p.m. BST.

Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus are all set to perform alongside Ariana Grande with the proceeds going to the Manchester Emergency Fund.

Confirmed line-ups:

Manchester United 2008 XI: Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Nemanja Vidic, Mikael Silvestre, Owen Hargreaves, Ryan Giggs, Ji-Sung Park, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher Dimitar Berbatov, Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney.

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson.

Michael Carrick All Star XI: Shay Given, Michel Salgado, Eric Abidal, Joan Capdevila, Phil Neville, Jamie Carragher, John Terry, Gaizka Mendieta, Clarence Seedorf, Damien Duff, Richard Garcia, Marcos Senna, Robbie Keane, Michael Owen, Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Manager: Harry Redknapp.

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