MANCHESTER United captain Michael Carrick has announced his intention to retire at the end of the season and join the club’s coaching staff.
The 36-year-old is the longest-serving player at Old Trafford, having joined from Tottenham in 2006 and gone on to win the Champions League and five Premier League titles, among many other trophies.
Carrick, capped 34 times by England, has looked likely to leave United in recent summers only to pen extensions at a club that rewarded his loyalty with a testimonial last year.
He was named club captain last summer after Wayne Rooney left but has only made three starts in all competitions this season.
It has long been expected Carrick would hang up his boots at the end of the campaign, something the veteran confirmed yesterday, along with his intention to take up boss Jose Mourinho’s offer to join his backroom team.
‘There comes a time when as much as you like it or don’t like it, your body tells you it’s time to stop playing football,’ Carrick said. ‘It’s something you’ve got to accept. It’s kind of been sorted out [a coaching role]. We’re still talking about it, so there’s nothing to totally confirm as yet. But, yeah, it’s looking likely.’
Mourinho publicly confirmed the offer of a coaching role in November after Carrick revealed he had had treatment for an irregular heartbeat.
‘Now it’s totally fine,’ Carrick added ahead of tonight’s Champions League last-16, second-leg tie against Sevilla.
‘There were some times there where, for two or three days, I was thinking, “Am I going to carry on playing or not?”, “Is it worth it or not?”.
‘But that quickly passed and I got back (to fitness) and wanted to finish on my own terms.’
Carrick insists he will be content to leave his playing days behind when he hangs up his boots. ‘I can look at it and think I’ve give it my best,’ he said.
‘I’ve tried all sorts of different things to bring the best out of me over the years and I can say that I gave my best, so I can look back with no regrets.’
■ 5 — Premier League titles won by Carrick at United, where he has made 463 appearances and also lifted one European Cup, one FA Cup and the League Cup three times
They said it…
‘I don’t know (if Paul Pogba can play), we don’t know yet, but he trained a little bit after you left’ — United boss Jose Mourinho did not rule out record signing Pogba’s chances of playing in the Champions League second leg against Sevilla at Old Trafford tonight — the last-16 tie is goalless after the away leg — despite missing the open part of yesterday’s training session