Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has revealed he asked not to be picked for England after becoming “depressed” on international duty.
Carrick won 34 senior caps for the Three Lions but has admitted his experience at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa left a lasting impression.
He made his last appearance for England in a friendly against Spain in November 2015.
Carrick told BBC2: “I’d been in the squad for a long time and I’ll be honest, I was finding it hard going away with England.
“I didn’t mind going away with United pre-season for three weeks or whatever and coming back, but going with England, it was almost depressing in a way.
“It made me really down, so I came to the point after South Africa where I thought, ‘I can’t do that again’.
“People would be saying, ‘Pull yourself together and be grateful for it’ and I understood the position I was in, the privileged position I was in, but I just found it so hard and I couldn’t deal with it any more.
“I was probably on the verge of… yes, I was depressed at times, yes. I told the FA, ‘Look, please don’t pick me’.”
Carrick, 36, will retire as a player at the end of the season, when he will then joining Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff.
We tend to forget footballers of all levels suffer with the likes of depression, but it’s a step in the right direction for Carrick to speak out about it, and by doing so will help others in the industry to do the same.
The former Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle and West Ham midfielder has always been a model professional. He will take a lot from his playing career into coaching to help young players develop both in a football and mental sense.
It was a masterstroke by Mourinho to keep Carrick involved at Old Trafford.