Michael Carrick and John O’Shea.
Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick won five Premier League titles while he was a player at the club and four of those came alongside Republic of Ireland legend John O’Shea.
The pair were teammates from Carrick’s arrival at Old Trafford in 2006 right up until O’Shea’s departure to Sunderland in 2011 and they were both trusted members of Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Red Devils side.
John O’Shea’s impressive career.
While the two shared a dressing room with major stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, Carrick has in the past reserved special praise for the Waterford native, who made an impressive 393 appearances throughout his Man United career.
There’s a common misconception that O’Shea was a squad player at Man United but from the season he broke into the side in 2002/03 right up until the his departure, he made at least 30 appearances in every campaign under Ferguson, with the exception of 2009/10. Carrick, for one, appreciated his worth.
“We won the first leg of the semi-final when John O’Shea scored at Old Trafford,” Carrick wrote in his 2018 autobiography Between The Lines, referring to the 2008/09 Champions League semi-final against Arsenal.
Michael Carrick: “John O’Shea would play anywhere for the team.”
“Sheasy was a great lad but didn’t get the respect he deserved outside United, except in Ireland, where he’s a legend. That year, Sheasy played right-back pretty much every game and he was superb.
“Midfield, left-back or centre-back, Sheasy would play anywhere for the team. He understood what it meant to play for United, what it took to win and how to act.
“He was a model pro off the pitch, and I could see why Sir Alex kept Sheasy at United for 12 years because he never had to worry about him, never had to babysit him.
“The boss just knew when he needed him that Sheasy was ready.”
John O’Shea: “Michael has the personality to succeed.”
Carrick’s respect for O’Shea appears to be reciprocated, judging by the Irishman’s comments since his ex-teammate took caretaker charge of the Man United first team, following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal on Sunday.
“If anyone is made for this situation that has developed, I think it’s Michael with his persona, personality and all-round professionalism,” O’Shea told the official club website.
“Look, it’s a tough situation for him, let’s be honest. But he will be dealing with it like I know he will and like he did on the pitch, being very calm, very calculated and ultimately very focused on the team and getting a result.
“He knows it is a tough situation to be put in, because of the relationship he had with Ole. But his professionalism would, for me, mean it will be no problem for him and he will take it all in his stride.
“Now, he has got a chance to stamp his authority for however many games he has as the manager. He will be looking to get that authority onto the pitch and off it as well. Hopefully, he can change our fortunes around and get some positivity back.”
Since O’Shea’s comments, Carrick has led the Red Devils into the knockout stages of the Champions League, courtesy of a 2-0 win away to Villarreal on Tuesday night.
It remains to be seen how long the Newcastle native will remain in charge but with the games coming thick and fast, he could well be in the dugout again when the United travel to Chelsea on Sunday.