Fergie: Carrick was destined for greatness

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Michael Carricks character and said it was one of the things that led him to sign the midfielder back in 2006.

Carrick will be honoured by the club on Sunday with a testimonial, which will see many of the club's greats, such as Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs return to the pitch.

And, Ferguson, who ended his 27 years as Manchester United manager in 2013 said the player's character was something that set him aside from a lot of footballers when he signed him from Tottenham Hotspur.

"One of the things that stuck out to me when we were profiling him and preparing to make a bid was that as a young boy, 16 years of age, he left home to play for West Ham," Ferguson told United's website.

"That tells you that the boy had the confidence that he was going to make it. A 16-year-old kid from Newcastle going to east London, that's a trek, and it impressed me.

"From the minute we bought Michael in 2006, his character has always been outstanding. He's a football man and that character, coupled with his ability, made him a certainty to be a big success at United."

Scholes, who spent many years playing alongside the former England international in United's midfield added that Carrick succeeded in filling the huge boots that were left behind by Roy Keane, another club icon.

"I remember Michael coming in and taking over the number 16 shirt from Roy Keane, one of the Premier League's best-ever midfielders. He had big boots to fill, but I think he's proven that he's more than worthy of the shirt," Scholes said, describing Carrick as a "Rolls Royce".

"I always felt comfortable and safe next to him, and he probably didn't get the credit he deserved at the time, but he's starting to get that now.

"When Michael plays, United usually win, and I like that there's nothing flashy about him. He never broke a sweat, either! He was like a Rolls Royce, just cruising around the football pitch."

Fellow United great Ryan Giggs added: "Playing both with Michael and against him, you realise what a great player he is. You would give him the ball and could trust him with it, he'd always make the right pass and he had that calming influence both on and off the pitch.

"I think ever since Michael joined the club, United have been winning trophies – he's been a special player and fully deserves his testimonial."

The 35-year-old, who recently signed a new contract at the club, has made 459 appearances for Manchester United, scoring 24 goals.