Michael On Missing Out

Michael Carrick admits he was "devastated" by the injury problems that ruled him out of international action this summer.

Michael, whose groin concern required an injection that kept him out of the England under-21 party for their trip to the European Championships in Switzerland at the end of the season, may well have been included in the full England squad had he not had problems during the campaign which, he now says, affected his form.

"I was really gutted. What you play for is to play for your country and for something like that to happen, I was really devastated," he reveals.

"But that is the way things go. You have to get your head down and get on with it, and hopefully there are other tournaments I will be playing in in the near future.

"Playing for your country is a great honour, if you don't get picked it is fair enough but to be injured is even worse.

"But that is the way it goes sometimes. A few people have said I might have made it to the World Cup but when I got injured it was a different story.

"I would like to think I would have had a chance, even just a small one, but I have tried to put that behind me now. I have to concentrate on getting there in the future.

"It was disappointing for the injury to still be there at the end of the season. It was niggling on, though, and it was one of those things that had to be done.

"You have it in the back of your mind that you could be out there - but there are a lot of players around the country, if not the world, on holiday, wishing they were in the World Cup.

"But it is over and finished with now, and hopefully I can look forward to the new season."

Michael did at least have the small consolation of cheering on club colleagues in the World Cup, and he adds: "I was chuffed to bits for Joe and Trevor playing - I thought they did really well.

"Joe got a bit of a niggle to his knee and he missed a couple of games so he was a bit disappointed, but I think Trevor opened up a lot of people's eyes.

"He showed what he was capable of even though a lot of people expected him not to do so well - so I was delighted for him.

"A couple of games beforehand he might not have been at his best but he proved people wrong, and that is brilliant.

"When he came on, he was on fire - back to the way he was playing for West Ham.That is the way it should be, because you have to take the club form on to the international arena - and it must have been a tremendous feeling for him to do that.

"It must have been hard initially, not knowing if he was in the squad. I spoke to him a couple of times and it was difficult flying in and out.

"But if you speak to him now I am sure he would say he is not bothered because he has got some World Cup games under his belt which means he has got a lot to show for it.

"I thought him and Rio were probably the best two players. If Trevor is not involved next season there will be something wrong, and he can bring that confidence into our team."

As for England's eventual expulsion from the tournament, he says: "I think it shows the quality of Brazil. It is just one of those things and if you are not at your best teams like that punish you - which is what happened."

And his personal goals for next season?

"First of all, it is to get back to my best. I have had the injury for 18 months niggling on so I have not been able to perform to my peak for a while.

"I just want to get back injury free and fit so I don't have to carry anything into the game, and hopefully that will help me play at my best and get me back into the England squad.

"There is nothing worse than having to perform with an injury and you know you can't perform at your best.

"But it was a case of 'I still have to do a job' whereas people looking on would have thought 'he is not playing too well'.

"Me, the medical staff, and the gaffer knew there was a little problem but hopefully now it is fixed and I am ready to go again."

Recalling the day he knew his season would be irrevocably disrupted, he says: "It was a case, at the Southampton away game in January, where it was too much, and I came in at half time and said 'I am sick of it now and I have to do something about it.'

"You see things, and you want to do things in the game, but it wasn't possible - and I was letting myself down.

"But I knew the World Cup was round the corner and I still wanted to play, though I had to take a step back and go in for the operation.

"Even when I came back for the last couple of months I hoped I would get back in - but really it was too late then."