England captain Wayne Rooney has revealed that midfielder Michael Carrick is someone who has been overlooked in the last decade despite being one of the best players in England in his position.

Carrick made his debut for England way back in 2001 but has been restricted to just 33 appearances in the 14-year period due to the presence of bigger names like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and David Beckham.

At 33, Carrick is finally getting regular playtime for the three lions and he is certainly making the best out of his opportunities as demonstrated against Italy in Turin.

Rooney said that Carrick was the best player on the pitch against the Azzurri and changed the tempo of the game after coming on, a I felt Michael was the best player on the pitch by a mile. He gave us great composure, he slowed the game down when we needed to and started our attacks really well.”

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were Carrick’s prime candidates for the England line-up before they retired from international duty. Despite the duo being attack-minded players, managers like Sven Goran Eriksson, Fabio Capello and even Roy Hodgson tried playing them in roles that you wouldn’t associate them with. Although Gerrard and Lampard started playing a bit deeper in their 30’s, Carrick was still a better player at it as he has been playing in that role for a longer time than the duo and is probably better than controlling the tempo of the game with his assured passing.

Wayne Rooney revealed that the presence of big name players ended up diminishing Carrick’s chances on the international stage when he was at his peak, a I think Michael is ready to be an integral part of the team. I think he was probably more of an easy choice to leave out of the England team when we had big-name players in the squad a unfortunately, thata s how ita s been for Michael.

a But I always felt he should be in the team and certainly in these past two performances (against Lithuania and Italy over the past week) he has done himself no harm.

a He is certainly not under-estimated by me, and certainly not by Manchester United fans either. I think he is a fantastic player, he has been a big reason why United have won so many trophies. So from myself and his team-mates, he has not been under-estimated.a

Carrick will become the longest-serving England outfield player since Sir Stanley Matthews if he manages to play in the Euro 2016 finals in France next summer and there is a high probability that he will do so.