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Sir Alex Ferguson backs Carrick for England after successful Manchester United season

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Carrick: Friendlies are crucial preparation for World Cup qualifiers
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Carrick: Friendlies are crucial preparation for World Cup qualifiers
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has suggested now may be the time for Michael Carrick to make his mark on the England national team.

The 31-year-old midfielder has earned just 27 caps in a modest international career, and he was left out of Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad after expressing his reluctance to play a bit-part role. Carrick partnered with captain Steven Gerrard in the center of the England midfield for the most recent World Cup qualifier in Montenegro, though, having been included in every competitive squad since Euro 2012.

The former Tottenham man was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award and included in the Team of the Year after helping United to its 20th Premier League title this season, and his boss thinks he has a lot to offer the national side.

"It depends on what the England manager does with our players and everyone is different," Ferguson told the official United magazine. "Michael’s had opposition from [Frank] Lampard and [Steven] Gerrard for most of that time and they were always the favored ones.

"The England manager kept playing them in the same team, sometimes out wide to make sure they were accommodated. So I think it's been difficult to install himself as a regular player all the time.

"This season, though, he has been phenomenal and along with the developing players Rafael and [David] De Gea, him and [Robin] van Persie have been outstanding."

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