Michael Carrick Spells It Out

Michael Carrick is not ducking the issue of how important the weekend's game at the Hawthorns is - and here, he shows a maturity that belies his years in a frank interview about what he calls the "biggest game of my life."

Q: "Michael, you are no doubt glad to get back to action although you were involved in the U21s last week?

MC: "After the Leeds game I think we wanted to put that result right quite quickly really, and we have had to wait a while, so now we have still to go up to West Brom and do a job.

Q: "You'd rather have had some league action at the weekend, would you?

MC: "Yes, especially in the position we are in, we need points, it has been a long week for us, we don't want to be sitting around with a Sunday game, and we need to get going.

Q: "Presumably you want to get in the England squad, though, as soon as possible?

MC: "I think that speaks for itself. Ask any player and everyone wants to play for England. I'm no different, but at the moment you have to get your priorities right and playing for West Ham is your bread and butter.

"Obviously if West Ham is not doing well and I am not doing well then I am not going to get in the England squad, so I need to put things right.

Q: "Were there signs of improvement against Leeds, because it was only one spawny goal that beat us, wasn't it?

"Yeah, but that is what you get down at the bottom; the way we are looking at it is that you have got to make your own luck in football.

"I know we had a few chances, their keeper pulled off a couple of good saves, and we hit the post and stuff.

"But it was still no points, and we can't afford to do that, because time is running out quite rapidly, so we need to pick up points no matter how the game is going.

Q: "And that is what it is about, isn't it - desire as much as skill?

MC: "Yeah, definitely, I think even the best players, in the best teams like at Man United and Arsenal, they have got desire and determination.

"It works both ways; when you are at the bottom you have to have the same and it is just part of a footballer's make-up.

"If you haven't got that there is no point having all the ability in the world, because you are not going to get in the positions to capitalise with your skills - and I think that is what comes first.

Q: "And I suppose the players, when they been criticised for not showing desire this year, that has been the hardest thing to take, hasn't it?

MC: "That is people's opinion and you can't stop that, it does hurt when people say things like that, but they are going to when you are in that position - so you have just got to take it, really.

Q: "How do you get the confidence when you are losing every week?

MC: "It is hard and that is probably the hardest thing to put your finger on; when you are confident you can just see the wins coming and think you are going to score goals.

"But when you are down the bottom, you tend to - though you try not to - be thinking it is a hard game this week, away from home or whatever.

"When you are flying, it doesn't matter who you are playing, you think you are going to get three points.

"So it is a big difference, but it comes from your own character and within, and you have to have the mental toughness to deal with things like that.

Q: "Because this time last season last year, we were winning with the same team, more or less...

MC: "Yeah, we have been saying that all season really, and no one knows the answer as to why it has happened.

"Last season was last season, but we have to get on with the position we are in at the moment.

Q: "And the players, presumably, are aware of the consequences of relegation, because it is not just you lads, it is the people that lose their jobs and all sorts.

MC: "Exactly, it is massive, and that makes Sunday's game even more massive when you take all those things into consideration.

"It really is a huge game and it is certainly the biggest game I have yet to play in - and it is certainly one that I am looking forward to.

Q: "The biggest game of your life, really?

MC: "Definitely; you always say the next game is the biggest but in these circumstances it definitely is - and in the next 10 games after that it will be like that.

Q: "Do you always have to put it out of mind, the league position, and start afresh as it were?

MC: "I think it is impossible to do that; you go into a game, especially one like this, with West Brom near where we are, and it is impossible to put out of your mind.

"But in a way you have to go into the game as if it was just another game and get the three points, which you hope for in every match.

"The circumstances speak for themselves - it is a massive match.

Q: "Will there be nerves, personally, from yourself?

MC: "I don't really get nervous, to be honest, so I wouldn't have thought so, so we will have to wait and see.

Q: "But it is a real scrap and they are going to bombard us aerially, I would have thought.

MC: "Every Premier league game is a big fight, and we said a while back that every game is like a battle - this is just another battle along the way to - hopefully - winning the war.

Q: "But you are confident we can still get out of it?

"Yes, definitely, I wouldn't be playing or training like we have just been if we didn't think that.

Q: "Has it been a good week?

"Yes, all the lads are working hard, nice and bright, looking forward to Sunday, and we just want to get points on the board again and hopefully some more in the coming weeks."