Middlesbrough's new boss Michael Carrick spent 15 years a player and coach at Manchester United
London (AFP) - Michael Carrick said he had no qualms about seeking the advice of “angry Scotsman” Alex Ferguson, his former boss at Manchester United, before becoming the new head coach of English second-tier strugglers Middlesbrough.
Carrick will be back in his native northeast after being announced as the new manager of Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old former United and England midfielder is following in the footsteps of current England supremo Gareth Southgate in launching his full-time managerial career at Middlesbrough.
Carrick’s first coaching experience came under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford where he also worked alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But it is Ferguson, under whom midfielder Carrick played during a 12-year stay at United, who was the key influence on the decision to take over at Boro.
“I spoke to Sir Alex a few times,” said Carrick.
“I’ve spoken to him more since I stopped playing – I didn’t want to get too close to him when I was a player.”
Asked about the extent of Ferguson’s impact on his career, Carrick said: “I thought I knew football to a point until I got to United, and it taught me a whole different way of living, breathing, how to play football, how to win, and it all stemmed from the boss.
“He was a huge, huge influence, improved my game, made me a better person in all sorts of different ways, so I’ve got a lot to thank him for.”
Ferguson was renowned for his strict discipline but Carrick said times had changed and that he was no Ferguson.
“Do I look like an angry Scotsman?” he said with a smile.
“Society and social circles are very different now to what they were some time ago.
“I think you’ve got to treat the individuals all differently to a point and get the best out of them individually – which he did, by the way, in different ways, so I learnt a lot from that.
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson
“But again, I’ve got to trust my instincts and not try to copy too much. I’m my own person and I’m comfortable with that.”
Middlesbrough are just a point above the Championship relegation zone but Carrick, briefly United’s caretaker manager following Solskjaer’s exit, said: “I’m not here for a fairytale, I’m here to work, to give my best, use my experience and help the players.”