Carrick in Capello lifeline

Experience could benefit Man Utd star

Carrick: Capello reprieve

Michael Carrick could be handed a reprieve from England manager Fabio Capello following his performance in the friendly win over Mexico.

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The England boss was said to be frustrated at his side's inability to keep possession against their opponents in Monday's 3-1 victory at Wembley, with the Manchester United man in the firing line from a half-time dressing down.

Carrick - who had started the night in the middle of a five-man midfield - was replaced after 62 minutes by Tom Huddlestone, leading to doubts over his place in Capello's final 23-man part for the World Cup finals in South Africa.

But the Italian indicated the 28-year-old still remains a key figure in his plays, with Sunday's friendly against Austria allowing the midfield man another opportunity to impress.

Important

Capello told The People: "You can play badly in one game but the value of Michael Carrick is still really high.

"When he plays with Manchester United, he is playing with one of the most important teams in the world - and that experience is certainly a factor."

Carrick admitted to enduring a difficult time against the Mexicans, who stifled England for large parts of the game and controlled the ball.

He said: "I was frustrated on Monday. Mexico had a lot of possession and players in midfield, and we found it difficult to get close.

"I don't think we played anywhere near as well as we could as a team but we managed to win the game, which is a good sign, and I'm sure the performances will improve."

The former Spurs player will find out after Sunday's friendly outing whether he has survived the seven man cull for the June tournament.

Praying

And despite conceding the wait to find out his fate will be a nervous one, Carrick said he will try to focus on making a further impression on the Three Lions boss.

He added: "I'll be waiting by the phone. It could be a long day but that's just how it is. You've got to deal with it.

"We've not really been talking about who might be going. We've just been busy working hard to stay focused on the job.

"Obviously, everyone's praying their name is in the squad. It's not going to be easy for the manager, I wouldn't like to have to cut people out of a World Cup but that's the business."