A former Manchester United and England midfielder recently revealed how his mental health struggles almost made him walk away from football.
In a series of interviews, and his new autobiography, Michael Carrick opened up on a struggle that even his family did not fully understand. The midfielder, renowned for his positional play and reading of the game, admitted his struggles left him wanting to leave the England camp at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
During his Manchester United career, Carrick won the Champions League, five Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups. He also won a FIFA Club World Cup and was regularly capped for England. By any definition that’s a successful sporting career, but in spite of this and a happy family life, Carrick wrestled with his mental health for years.
He told Sky Sports News: “I can sit here and talk about it now, I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve got no clear reason why I got to that stage, it was just a lot of little things and in the end my football suffered for it and I suffered for it.
“I wasn’t enjoying playing for England, I didn’t want to go away with England and I was having a hard time at United – I was playing awfully. That drives it because everything I gave was to be as good as I possibly could for United.”
Carrick currently works as a coach at the club where he spent twelve years as a player, supporting the oft-criticised manager Jose Mourinho; as a result he remains an important face in the Premier League. His openness about his struggles adds yet another name to an ever-growing list of sports stars willing to talk about their mental health.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury, Tottenham left-back Danny Rose, and rugby union legend Jonny Wilkinson are just some of the big names to publicly talk about this important issue over the last year.
The growing host of high-profile personalities discussing psychological well-being is another constructive step to ending stigmas around mental health. Michael Carrick’s statements will reach millions of football fans and further normalise the conversation.