Carrick Collects

Michael Carrick picked up Stuart Pearce's Hammer of the Year award on Thursday night - and is to receive his own award for the season's endeavours.

Michael received the award at the supporters' club on behalf of Psycho, unable to attend because of illness.

But he is to receive his own trophy from the bondholders, having been voted by them as most improved player of the season.

"Perhaps I've gone from being absolutely terrible to bad!" he jokes.

On a more serious note, however, he adds: "It's good to come to these events to meet the fans and see how they feel.

"Stuart Pearce fully deserves the award, when you look at him and see his attitude on and off the pitch; he wouldn't be playing now if it was just about skill.

"There are players who finish long before him, and I'd say his desire has kept him going for the last five years; that determination has got him where he is now.

"Coming back from two broken legs when he was 37 is even more incredible."

Does Michael feel that such an attitude is harder to come by in the modern game with the large wages of even the younger players?

"Everyone is different," insists Michael, "and you can't really say all young players are like that.

"You can't really stereotype all young players like that - I play for the love of the game and once you are on the pitch you just want to win at all costs, even in training."

Michael admits he is looking forward to a break and says: "I've been feeling tired in the last few weeks and I've been just trying to get as much rest as I can between games; it's a long season, especially with it being your first one.

"It's just something you've got to do and learn from and I'm pleased to get my first season underway; hopefully there are a few more to come!

"Some of the football we have played this season has been outstanding but some of the performances have let us down.

"It's just about getting our consistency because if we can perform regularly near our best we can be much higher up the table."

Now Michael is focusing on that final home game of the season, and says: "We've been saying for the last few weeks we'll get the win and we'll be alright but it just hasn't come about.

"Mathematically it is not impossible for Manchester City to get out of it, but we are confident.

"The lads know what they have got to do and how to go about it, especially after the second half last week when we created so many chances.

"It'll be nice to go out with a bang; we've let the supporters down in some games so we have to go out on a high ready for next year."

Paolo Di Canio was runner up in the voting for the Hammer of the Year award.