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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

United agree £18.6m fee with Spurs for Carrick

Michael Carrick has completed his medical and is expected to be formally confirmed as a Manchester United player either later on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

The 25-year-old England international spent the day undergoing tests before the formalities of his £18.6million move from Tottenham are completed.

United have pencilled in a press conference for Wednesday to unveil the fifth-most expensive signing in their history and Carrick has already been assigned squad number 16 - previously worn by skipper Roy Keane - ahead of a likely appearance in this weekend's Amsterdam tournament.

After spending most of the summer searching for midfield reinforcements, Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted to have finally captured his number one target.

The United boss will hope Carrick's passing ability can offer an extra dimension to his midfield, which saw an unlikely combination of John O'Shea and Ryan Giggs deployed at its heart during the latter stages of last season following Keane's abrupt exit.

Ferguson will also look to Carrick's arrival to bring some stability to the club after a turbulent summer which saw Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo at loggerheads during the World Cup.

Ronaldo returned to training after his extended break this afternoon but, with Rooney only required for a morning session, the pair did not actually appear on United's Carrington training ground at the same time.

Instead, any meeting took place within the confines of the dressing rooms, with Rooney apparently forgiving his young team-mate for the part he played in his dismissal during the quarter-final defeat to Portugal in Gelsenkirchen.

Many people, including Alan Shearer and Frank Lampard, believe Ronaldo was way out of order by seemingly leading the clamour for Rooney's red card in Gelsenkirchen.

However, it appears Rooney has already forgiven his young team-mate and no doubt had time for at least a short chat with him after Ronaldo avoided the media scrum awaiting his arrival by driving into the training ground via a back entrance.

Although Ronaldo twice claimed during the World Cup that he wanted to move to Real Madrid, United were quick to quash any suggestion the 21-year-old will be allowed to leave, having only just signed a contract which is due to keep him at Old Trafford until 2010.

And, by at least turning up for training, the 21-year-old has signalled some sort of intention to honour the agreement.

Meanwhile, Park Ji-Sung feels he must start hitting the goal trail if his second season at United is not to be his last.

The South Korea international was only partially successful in his debut campaign with the Old Trafford outfit.

Although he was second only to Wayne Rooney in the assists column, Park scored only twice in 45 appearances, a ratio Ferguson feels he is capable of bettering.

And, while Park accepts becoming the first Korean to play for United is 'an honour', he is also acutely aware that with competition for places about to increase with Carrick's arrival, he must improve to preserve his status as a Red Devil.

'This season is more important for me than the last one,' he said.

'The kind of play I produce will decide whether I remain at United or follow in the footsteps of other players who have left the team.

'I need to improve my number of assists a little bit but I have to score a lot more goals and if I get the chance this season, I will go straight for goal.'

Ferguson told MUTV: 'Michael has completed his medical today, we are going to be having a press conference on Wednesday I think.

'He has settled down fine, I spoke to him today. I said to him 'I'm giving you the number 16 jersey' so he was delighted at that.

'I think that showed great courage because sometimes players are a bit superstitious about things like that but he was keen, and said he would gladly take number 16.'

Asked how relieved he was to wrap up United's first signing of the summer, Ferguson added: 'I wasn't too worried to be honest with you, as I said before you have got to trust the players we have got.

'They had a fantastic season last year in the second half of the season. There's a great spirit here and if we add a couple, it's a bonus for us.'