'Hurt' Carrick eager to make up for bad year
Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is desperate to make up for a disappointing 12 months for club and country, starting by exacting some revenge against Newcastle United on Monday night.
The two Uniteds will complete the first round of the new Premier League season at Old Trafford with a repeat of an opening match from two seasons ago when Newcastle secured an unexpected draw.
Manchester United went on to win the Premier League title that campaign while Newcastle were relegated, but Carrick is still keen to make sure the home fans get to enjoy a victory this time, particularly since Chelsea kicked off the title race with a 6-0 thrashing of West Brom.
"Newcastle will be flying,'' said Carrick. "They are back in the Premier League and what better place to start than Old Trafford. They obviously want to get off to a good start and build up some momentum themselves. It is only two years ago that we played them in the first game at Old Trafford and drew. Hopefully it will be better this time.''
Carrick is in line to face Newcastle despite losing his status as automatic starter with some below-par performances last term. The 29-year-old still earned selection for England's World Cup squad but he failed to make it onto the pitch during the tournament, despite England's poor form. It leaves Carrick with a keen hunger ahead of the visit of his home-town team to Old Trafford.
"Last season was disappointing and I ended up having a hard summer,'' he admitted. "But this is my fifth season and during that time I have gained a lot of experience. I am more determined than ever. When you don't get what you want, it hurts. You want it again badly. I am hungry for success, just as I was when I first came here.''
Carrick faces competition from Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher and rising stars Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverley for the central midfield slots this term while Sir Alex Ferguson also has plenty of options up front for the visit of Newcastle, with Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez and Michael Owen all vying to join Wayne Rooney at the top of the pecking order.