Michael Carrick is poised to become Middlesbrough’s sixth manager in five years and could be in the dugout at the Riverside when Huddersfield visit Teesside on Saturday.
The 41-year-old former West Ham, Tottenham, Manchester United and England midfielder has been talked into a change of heart by Boro’s owner, Steve Gibson, after initially suggesting he was reluctant to take the job during initial talks last week.
However, a three-year contract is being finalised with Sir Alex Ferguson’s former Manchester United assistants Mike Phelan and René Meulensteen expected to join Carrick’s staff as he endeavours to steer Boro clear of the Championship relegation zone.
Middlesbrough’s caretaker manager, Leo Percovich, guided the team to a 4-1 win over Wigan on Wednesday and said Carrick’s arrival would be “very welcome.”
“I haven’t spoken with the club yet about it,” Percovich added. “It will be very welcome because we want the best for the club“Let’s see what happens in the next couple of days, but we need to be focused on the [Huddersfield] game on Saturday because they have not told me anything yet.”
After seeing Garry Monk, Tony Pulis, Jonathan Woodgate, Neil Warnock and Chris Wilder – who was sacked at the start of October – all fail to guide the team back into the Premier League following their relegation in 2017, Gibson will hope that a coach with roots at Old Trafford will once again serve him well.
Gibson’s two most successful managerial appointments, Steve McClaren and Bryan Robson, arrived as untested novice managers from Manchester United and he must trust Carrick can reprise at least some of their success.
After retiring from playing in 2018, Carrick served as a coach under both José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær at United, spending three games as an unbeaten caretaker after Solskjær’s sacking. He departed when Ralf Rangnick took interim charge in December 2021.
In relocating to Boro, the Tyneside-born Carrick will be returning to the north-east where he cut his footballing teeth at Wallsend Boys Club. His imminent appointment reflects a change of policy on Gibson’s part after the highly experienced Warnock and Wilder both failed to conjure a repeat of the multiple promotions they had enjoyed at previous clubs.