New Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick reveals what Sir Alex Ferguson told him

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Michael Carrick has revealed he sought the advice of “angry Scotsman” Sir Alex Ferguson before accepting Middlesbrough’s offer to be their new head coach.

The 41-year-old former Manchester United and England midfielder was unveiled by the Teessiders on Tuesday afternoon a day after agreeing to launch his managerial career, just as Steve McClaren, Gareth Southgate and Aitor Karanka have done before him, at the Riverside Stadium.

Carrick played under Ferguson during a 12-year stay at at Old Trafford and was drafted into the coaching set-up by Jose Mourinho before also working alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Asked if he has spoken to any of his former bosses before taking the Boro job, he replied: “I spoke to Sir Alex a few times. 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.

Alex Ferguson (left) and Michael Carrick.Alex Ferguson (left) and Michael Carrick.
Alex Ferguson (left) and Michael Carrick.

“I spoke to him a lot. It’s well-documented that he has a real pride and a care about ex-players progressing and being coaches, managers and takes a real pride and care in helping them as well.

“He’s certainly done that to me and I really appreciate the advice he’s given me.”

Asked how much the Scot had influenced him during their time working together, Carrick added: “Hugely. 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.

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“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’s success was founded on ruling with an iron rod, although asked if it was possible to manage in the same way nowadays, Carrick said with a smile: “Do I look like an angry Scotsman?

“Listen, you’ve got to be your own person to a point. Society and social circles are very different now to what they were some time ago.

“I’m well aware of that and 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 learned a lot from that.

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“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.”

It was Mourinho who handed Carrick his move into coaching, and he will hope to utilise some of the traits which most impressed him about the Portuguese.

He said: “It’s the little things that you pick up a lot, how he spotted things in players and not necessarily the obvious things. He was really smart and bright at seeing that and predicting how players would turn out, so I learned a lot from him.”

Carrick takes over a club sitting just above the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone but having dealt with the pressure of taking charge at United on a caretaker basis following Solskjaer’s departure, that does not faze him.