Michael Carrick aims to upset Harry Redknapp's Carling Cup dream with United

27 February 2009 07:30
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur Kick-off: Sun Feb 28, 3.00pm; Wembley Stadium, London TV: Sky Sports 1 (14:30-17:30), Sky Sports HD1 (14:30-17:30) Radio: BBC Radio 5 Live

Admiration from such lofty quarters is likely to be scant consolation on Sunday, though, should the Tottenham manager find himself denied a second Wembley triumph in a year by two players whose careers he launched.

Although Ferguson has promised youngsters like Danny Welbeck and Darron Gibson the chance to write their names in Manchester United history, his line-up could well feature two players Redknapp knows only too well from his West Ham days.

Rio Ferdinand, of course, was the ball-playing defender from the Peckham council estate who went on to become the world's most expensive centre back. Redknapp admits he was delighted when he saw his former protégé captain England in March last year.

He may live to regret nurturing his talent should Ferdinand negate the Spurs attack on Sunday afternoon.

Michael Carrick, too, was another Redknapp discovery, brought to the East End from Newcastle, before going on to grace White Hart Lane and Old Trafford, developing into one of England's most complete midfielders along the way.

Redknapp, old warhorse that he is, has never been one for misty-eyed nostalgia. It will not surprise him that Carrick has taken his lead from his mentor and is putting all thought of old allegiances out of his head in favour of a steely focus on landing the second trophy of United's potential clean sweep this season.

"This is a chance to get some silverware," Carrick said. "It doesn't matter to me that it's Spurs, because it's about us."

Even if Ferguson chooses to rest his senior players, hoping to keep them fresh for the Premier League title run-in and an attempt to retain their Champions League trophy, Redknapp will be well aware he is likely to face a side packed with internationals. That, according to Carrick, is what has given United the edge on the rest of the Premier League this season.

He said: "The manager has been changing the team for a long time now and you can see how fresh everyone is. It has served us well to sit out certain games and it's a tribute to the strength of the squad.

"No matter who we put out, you can be sure it won't be a weakened team. We have shown with the run we've been on, even when the manager has made a number of changes, it has not affected the way we have played."

Source: Telegraph