Michael Carrick is likely to lean on Cristiano Ronaldo’s experience in the Manchester United dressing room if his previous comments on his former teammate are anything to go by.
New United caretaker boss Carrick played with Ronaldo for three seasons in Manchester before the Portuguese moved to Real Madrid in 2009, with United winning the Premier League title in each of those three campaigns.
Having joined United from Tottenham in 2006, Carrick made the journey from young squad member to experienced professional at Old Trafford, with the 36-year-old Ronaldo now occupying the same mantle following his return to the club in the summer.
Carrick has now taken over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a short-term basis following the Norwegian’s sacking as United boss on Sunday, and speaking in 2019 he discussed how Ronaldo graduated through the United dressing room following his arrival as a teenager in 2003.
“All those great players from the past weren’t ready-made by any stretch,” Carrick told the Mail Online as he discussed the challenges faces United’s current young players.
“We’ve got the youngest team in the league and they need a bit of guidance and help.
“But I was one of them when I was younger. Giggsy (Ryan Giggs) was one of them, so was Scholesy (Paul Scholes). They had to learn and make mistakes and improve.
“You learn from experience and by winning but everyone has to start somewhere.
“Cristiano is an example. He took a year or two to settle, then all of a sudden he found his feet and exploded.”
Carrick will hope that Ronaldo helps guide United’s young players, starting with their Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday.
The Portuguese paid tribute to Solskjaer on Monday, posting an Instagram as he recalled his time together with the Norwegian both as a teammate and a manager.
“He’s been my striker when I first came to Old Trafford and he’s been my coach since I came back to Man United,” he wrote.
“But most of all, Ole is an outstanding human being. I wish him the best in whatever his life has reserved for him.
“Good luck, my friend! You deserve it!”
Solskjaer spoke to United club media about his dismissal on Sunday, and backed Carrick to do well as his immediate successor.
“As I’ve said to them this morning as well, trust yourselves, you know we’re better than this,” he said ahead of the trip to Villarreal.
“We’ve not been able to show it but go out, chest out, enjoy being a Man United player, in the Champions League, on the biggest stage.
“If and when you win the game, you’re through to the next round, Michael is going to be in charge.
“Michael, I have the utmost respect [for], I love Michael to bits. I’m becoming emotional now because he’s top. They’ll be fine. I’ll watch them and support them.”