Michael Carrick has rubbished the claim that Sir Alex Ferguson orders his players to withdraw their services for international duty.

The Manchester United manager has in the past questioned the reasons behind non-competitive international games during the campaign, and was identified by some as a key player in Rio Ferdinand's recent decision to withdraw from England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro last month.

But the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has defended his club manager, insisting the Scot had never put any pressure on a member of his squad to pull out of international duty in order to preserve themselves for club games.

Michael Carrick
Carrick dismisses idea that Ferguson encourages international withdrawal. (Reuters) Reuters

" I have never had anything from the manager saying pull yourself out or anything in that manner because it is not in his nature," Carrick told talkSPORT.

"We have players here that travel the world to play international football. Chicharito [Javier Hernandez] goes to Mexico, Antonio [Valencia] goes back to Ecuador and from there he travels to wherever they are playing.

"If you have got the best players, or the better players, then international football is part of it.

"I don't see a club v country row. There are obviously two agendas because it's two different set-ups, but they can come together and work well."

Carrick lined up against one of his former clubs on Wednesday evening as United were held to a 2-2 draw with West Ham United in an absorbing tussle at Upton Park. The draw meant that United's wait to get their hands on the Premier League trophy was extended to at least another week. But despite their imminent success, the 31-year-old admits that the pain of being eliminated from this year's FA Cup still lingers.

"It hurts because the club should be winning the FA Cup, especially having had such a successful period of the last six, seven, eight years. For a club like this not to win it over that period is criminal," Carrick continued.

"It is what I grew up watching. The FA Cup was the game of the season when I was younger and such a special day. We have come close, losing to Chelsea in the final, but we want to get better than that."

United can potentially seal their 20<sup>th league title next Monday if they beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford, and Tottenham Hotspur take all three points when they welcome Manchester City to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon.