Middlesbrough: Michael Carrick’s message to Sammy Silvera
WHEN Sammy Silvera first sat down with Michael Carrick, two words from the Middlesbrough head coach immediately stood out: express yourself.

That is what Carrick encourages his attacking players to do and it was music to the ears of the young Aussie flanker.

Silvera knows fine well that doesn’t mean he’ll be given free rein at the Riverside and the 22-year-old is well aware of the importance of twinning defensive discipline with attacking spark but Carrick’s message was exactly what the winger wanted to hear as he pondered his Central Coast Mariners exit and his next move.

On the back of the best season of his career so far, Silvera knew he had to get this summer’s big decision right.

The young Aussie winger previously endured a difficult stint in Portugal but after returning to his homeland to join Central Coast Mariners, Silvera flourished under the tutelage of his English manager, former Sheffield United midfielder Nick Montgomery.

Sam Silvera returns home - Central Coast Mariners

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Silvera saw similarities between Carrick and Montgomery – who the winger credits with his getting his career back on track – and has been enormously impressed by his new head coach.

“Michael Carrick is so chilled and he’s extremely encouraging, which is great for me,” said Silvera, who has impressed in pre-season and is pushing for a start in the Championship opener against Millwall on Saturday.

“He’s just said to me, when I’m in the attacking third just do what I do and do what I was signed for. Defensively, I know I have to work hard for the team, which I know I still have to work on that side of my game. But the main bit for me is that encouragement to just express myself.”

While Silvera’s former boss Montgomery didn’t enjoy the success of Carrick during his playing career – very few players did – he did make almost 350 appearances for Sheffield United, is a young head coach who has taken to management impressively and, like Boro’s boss, encourages his players – particularly his attackers – to express themselves.


Montgomery had initially helped Silvera through the youth ranks at Mariners and after the winger’s difficult spell in Portugal with Paços de Ferreira, helped the flanker rediscover his best form.


Silvera said: “My previous coach was Nick Montgomery and he grew up in England and has such a similar coaching style in terms of being a player-manager.


“He gets the best out of you. He was so important for me. I’d just come off the back of two seasons where the manager I guess made false promises. That’s football, it can be an up and down sort of world, and it was two rough seasons where it was difficult.


“But I went into last season under Nick and he was very encouraging, knew the talent I had from when I first at the Mariners and he was a youth coach, and he just gave me that encouragement from day one, told me to go out there and do what you do in front of goal, but also defend for the team. And yeah, it really went well for me.


“It’s easy to see the comparisons between the two (Montgomery and Carrick). They both had amazing careers here in England and have similar knowledge and style to develop a player. They’re both extremely encouraging, especially to myself as an attacking player. They both similar messages in terms of letting you go out and express yourself in front of goal.


“But also, they both express the importance of the ugly side of the game, and the need to work for the team. That’s how you get the results.”


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During initial transfer talks with Silvera, Carrick also pointed to the example of Hayden Hackney in how urging players to play with freedom can get the best out of them. Silvera is one of several young players to have arrived at Boro this summer and has been impressed by his fellow new arrivals and those who were already at the club.


He said: “The boys are great though and technically very good. You can see the talent that they have and together, we’re all here to kick on. That was another selling point for me when I came.


“I spoke to Michael Carrick and he explained how Hayden had a difficult period out on loan but then came back in last season and played every minute. Carrick encouraged him to go and get the ball and express himself, and that’s what he’s asked of me as well.


“The message is, if you lose it, work hard to get it back, but most importantly, just always want the ball and don’t be afraid to try new things. That was really important for me.”

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