Sunday People

Carrick’s got touch of Fergie

- By Clive Hetheringt­on

MICHAEL CARRICK may have fallen just short of an instant miracle at Middlesbro­ugh – but former Boro star John Hendrie can see just why chairman Steve Gibson backed him to work magic.

Boro, who lost 1-0 on aggregate to Coventry in their Championsh­ip playoff semi-final, were fourth bottom after Carrick’s first game in charge in October – but finished fourth top.

And former forward Hendrie, 59, believes that Carrick’s Manchester United pedigree under the influence of Sir Alex Ferguson, was a big factor in his appointmen­t.

On six occasions, Gibson has gone for novice managers – Bryan Robson, Steve Mcclaren, Gareth Southgate, Aitor Karanka, Jonathan Woodgate and now Carrick.

Robson, Mcclaren and Carrick served at Old Trafford under Ferguson.

Hendrie (below), a member of Robson’s 1995 promotion-winning side, said: “Michael had his little spell as caretaker manager at Old Trafford and he did well. That must have caught Steve Gibson’s attention.

“Steve has looked to United for a manager before, of course. Michael is also a North East boy and knows all about the area.

“Boro were flounderin­g, and they had to get the appointmen­t right. Without a shadow of a doubt, he’s exceeded expectatio­ns.

“Michael, rightly so, wasn’t going to just jump into the situation. He wanted it on his terms and did his homework.

“No doubt part of it was bringing [former manager] Jonathan Woodgate in because he knows the club inside out. It’s great for Woody. Maybe being No.2 suits him more than No.1?’’

Hendrie began his career with Coventry and also hailed Sky Blues boss and one-time Old Trafford striker Mark Robins. He said: “Mark has done a fantastic job just getting them up there with all they’ve had to deal with.’’

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DAB HAND: Carrick

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