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By ESPN Staff

Carrick rubbishes talk of "meaningless" friendly

Michael Carrick has insisted he is delighted to be part of the England side in Germany this week and is adamant the game is not "meaningless".

Although John Terry should be fit after coming through training yesterday with no reaction to the foot injury he suffered at West Brom on Saturday, the England line-up will be unrecognisable from the one that has stormed through World Cup qualifying with four successive wins.

As few as three of the Italian's first-choice line-up will be on show; four if Gareth Barry is considered ahead of currently-injured Owen Hargreaves in the pecking order.

The threadbare nature of Capello's squad only fuels further debate over the future of friendly games, although Carrick is at odds with club boss Sir Alex Ferguson when considering their merits.

"Friendlies are not meaningless,'' argued the former West Ham star. "To play for your country is a massive honour. Germany versus England at any level is a huge game.

"I certainly do not regard it as a hindrance. But I accept the manager (Ferguson) does not really look at it that way. He has his own agenda and there are things to be won at domestic level.

"But, as players, you have to put that to one side until Thursday morning.''

Carrick was at least able to reject the often-repeated theory that Ferguson pressurises his players to withdraw from games he feels are an encumbrance on United's quest for glory. Not that Carrick would listen anyway this week.

"I don't look into the past too much so I never got too concerned about falling off anyone's radar,'' he said. "I always believed in myself and knew if I was playing well enough and doing what I am good at I would get the opportunity again.

"It is not something I have been too concerned about. "It's not really for me to say why I didn't get picked. I just want to look ahead and try and be a part of something that can be big and special.''

The 27-year-old has not featured for the Three Lions since they last faced Germany at Wembley in August 2007.

But with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard both ruled out through injury, the chances are Carrick will be called upon to make his first appearance of the Fabio Capello era.

"It's for other people to judge how I play,'' he said. "As long as the manager, the club, the players and the supporters are happy, I'm happy.

"I know what I am good at and try to go about my business in the right way. If I get the chance on Wednesday, I will continue to try and do that.''

Meanwhile, England legend Geoff Hurst believes the friendly against Germany will provide younger players with ''a great opportunity''.

The hat-trick hero in England's 4-2 victory over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final, is adamant it is not a crisis.

''It's not a crisis because this is not a World Cup qualifier,'' Hurst told Setanta Sports News. ''I think it gives a great opportunity to some of the younger players in the squad to come in and show what they can do for England in a very big game against Germany.

''You can't start trying out or testing new players in a World Cup qualifier, even if it is against Kazakhstan.'' Hurst admitted to getting annoyed when he hears the term ''meaningless friendly''.

''I understand the conflict between club and country,'' he said. ''But I don't believe in the term meaningless friendly. Go back to my time and there was never such a thing as an international friendly.

''Every time you pulled on an England shirt you would be judged by your performance and I think that's how it should be.

''There's got to be more consideration for the national team. The biggest thing that can affect our game is if the national team is successful and goes on to win European Championships and World Cups.''


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