Michael Carrick: Sir Alex Ferguson has never stopped me playing for England

Michael Carrick is on the verge of collecting his fifth Premier League title as a Manchester United player. Photo: PA

Michael Carrick insists Sir Alex Ferguson has never told him to pull out of an England squad.

The Manchester United manager's role in Rio Ferdinand's controversial withdrawal from the squads for last month's World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro has come under scrutiny.

It was claimed Ferguson put pressure on Ferdinand to pull out, believing it was jeopardise United's hopes of reclaiming the Premier League title.

Ferguson has never seemed to go out of his way to assist England, and recently admitted he found friendlies a hindrance to his own work at Old Trafford.

But, ahead of tonight's trip to former club West Ham, Carrick said Ferguson had never pressurised members of the United squad not to make themselves available for international duty.

"I have never had anything from the manager saying pull yourself out or anything in that manner because it's not in his nature," Carrick told talkSPORT.

"We have got players here that travel the world to play international football. Chicharito [Javier Hernandez] goes to Mexico, Antonio [Valencia] goes back to Ecuador and from there he travels to wherever they are playing.

"If you have got the best players, or the better players, then international football is part of it.

"I don't see a club v country row. There are obviously two agendas because it's two different set-ups, but they can come together and work well."

Carrick is on course to collect his fifth league title in seven seasons since leaving Tottenham for £16million prior to the 2006 World Cup.

And it is clear his affection for Ferguson runs deep.

"He [Ferguson] knows how to react and how to get the best out of players - whether it's a pick me up and pat on the back or a bit of a dressing down and kick up the backside," he said.

"[The hairdryer] comes out now and again. It's a little bit less these days but in the past it's been known.

"That's what top management is about and to do it for that long is incredible."

Carrick has come to prominence this season largely due to the long absences of Paul Scholes.

Yet he was largely overlooked by Fabio Capello during the Italian's stint as England manager, and had to be coaxed out of international retirement by Roy Hodgson following Euro 2012.

"I haven't let myself get too frustrated about it because if I feel I'm doing well and the manager feels I'm doing well at United, there's not a lot more I can do.

"Managers have opinions. That is what football is about, and if they haven't picked me I can't let that bother me too much. I've had enough going on at United to keep me busy.

"I'd loved to have played more, of course I would. I'd have loved to have had a lot more caps and a great career with England and been successful in tournaments, but what's gone has gone. You can't look back too much."

Hodgson does appear to be creating space for Carrick in his World Cup plans.

However, with Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley and Frank Lampard providing competition for central midfield berths that will also be filled by skipper Steven Gerrard should England reach Brazil, he is taking nothing for granted.

"World Cups are special but to be in Brazil adds that little bit extra," he said.

"We are so desperate to do so well that sometimes it hinders us because everyone goes so over the top.

"That is the nature of us as a country and how we approach these big tournaments. Hopefully, we can get there.

"We are in a decent position, yet we've still got a lot of work to do.

"We'll concentrate on that to start with but it's a big dream to get there in the future."