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Carrick hopes to improve further

Michael Carrick believes he is a better player than at any point in his Manchester United career - and thinks he can improve further.

Carrick was shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award for the first time after helping United win a fifth title in his seven seasons at Old Trafford.

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While the 31-year-old, one of the favourites to win the Sir Matt Busby trophy for United's player of the season, could be at his peak, he hopes his best is still to come.

He told the club's official website: "I feel like I've improved all the time I've been at United. You're always going to have better spells than others. That's natural and you can't be on an upward curve all the time or play at your best all the time. But as time has gone on I have improved as a player and I'm still looking to improve even now. You have to here.

"There comes a stage when, perhaps for a variety of reasons, you hit form and you feel comfortable with the way things are going. It's probably an experience thing as well. I know what works for me now in different situations and different games, how you cope and how you adapt to that."

Carrick, an £18 million signing from Tottenham in 2006, has come in for criticism at times during his United career before being praised this season.

He added: "It shows you're doing your job right and in that sense you have to enjoy it and take satisfaction from it. It's good if you're playing well in a successful team, that's what any player wants. But attention isn't something I crave or need."

Carrick's assets are his passing and his reading of the game and, with Barcelona making possession paramount, he believes he and similar players have come into fashion now.

He explained: "The game evolves all the time and different trends and styles of play come to the fore or become more popular and are used by different teams. We're perhaps in a time now where people appreciate that type of midfielder a lot more."

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