Michael Carrick to retire at the end of the season which really will mark the end of an era

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had already given us all a clue that Michael Carrick will hang up his boots at the end of the season and today the 36-year-old confirmed that he will be calling time on his playing career. Carrick had previously been offered a place on Mourinho’s coaching staff whilst he was on the sidelines with a heart condition, which he has now overcome and can play some of the remaining matches for his club this season.

Carrick signed for United from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2006 and despite taking some time to settle, as he was brought in to replace Roy Keane, who departed the club the year previous, despite not being the same type of player as him. Carrick soon settled in and started to gain the respect he had earned. Since signing for United, Carrick has won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, six FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Europa League and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Carrick, confirming his retirement at the end of the season and a career which many will be proud of spoke at the manager’s press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg clash with Sevilla at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, saying:

“I think it’s pretty much already been said, to be honest with you. There comes a time when, as much as you like or don’t like it, your body tells you it’s time to stop playing football. That’s pretty much where I’m at, which is fine. It’s something you have to accept. That’s where I’m at.”

Carrick has seemingly been offered a role on Mourinho’s coaching team from the start of next season which should see him remain at the Old Trafford club, giving a little more of his experience but in a different way. United have some great coaches but in his time at United, Carrick has earned the plaudits, especially his role at the club after Class of 1992 graduate Paul Scholes retired. Carrick, speaking about the role he has been offered, which is not set in stone yet, said:

“Yes. It’s kind of been sorted out. We’re still talking about it, to be honest, so there’s nothing totally confirmed as yet. But it’s looking likely, yes.”

Back in the summer of 2006, Carrick arrived from Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, the fourth professional club the England midfielder had played for after starting his career at West Ham United, coming through their Academy, being loaned to both Swindon Town and Birmingham City, before being sold to Spurs. United paid around £14 million for Carrick back then, something which will be seen as a bargain based on what he has offered the club and helped put them in contention to winning, sealing 12 major honours.

Carrick was rewarded with a testimonial last summer and it was thought he would end his career then but the club offered him a new one-year deal, which was what he deserved at the time. Carrick hopes to play a part in the run-in this season with United playing two important matches this week in the Champions League and the Emirates FA Cup after his teammates put in three great performances recently, beating both Chelsea and Crystal Palace – coming from behind and a home victory over Liverpool, which always feels good.

The 36-year-old has spent much of this season on the sidelines after finding out he had a heart condition which kept him out of contention for a while but towards the end of 2017, he was back in training and ready to be picked for his team in January. Carrick has played four times this season, once in September against Burton Albion, where his heart problem commenced, putting in three recent appearances against Yeovil Town and Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup and Newcastle United in the Premier League. Speaking about his condition, Carrick concluded by saying:

“Obviously, I had the problem in the Burton game, when it started during the second half, and then had a few tests after that. The same problem came back on the Sunday of that week in training, so then I had the procedure the following week, which I went through and now it’s totally fine and I’m clear. It took a little bit of time to get over but there were some times when, for two or three days, I was thinking ‘am I going to carry on playing or not?’ or ‘is it kind of worth it or not?’ but that quickly passed.

“I got back fit and I wanted to finish on my own terms really. At least I could decide and not be forced because of that, so I was determined to get back fit. I understood after getting back fit that I wouldn’t be playing as many games as perhaps I might have done, but that’s something that I understood. I’ve just been training hard and trying to keep fit and have managed to play a few games so far and we’ll see what happens towards the end of the season.”

Carrick’s presence in the team will be missed but in the summer Mourinho has stated that the central midfield position will be one he needs to reinforce, especially with Marouane Fellaini looking likely to leave the Old Trafford club on the expiry of his contract. That will leave United with Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay as the experienced members of the midfield in the first team, leaving possible two positions to be filled, maybe more if more talented youth gain chances under Mourinho during the pre-season tour and into the new season.

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