Friday 11 May 2018
Captain Carrick set for United swansong
Bringing down the curtain on his illustrious and decorated career, Michael Carrick will make his 464th - and final - appearance for the club when he leads out the Reds as captain against Watford for his last game as a player before he hangs up his boots and takes up a role on the coaching staff next season.
As he ends his journey as a legendary player who became the unsung hero of one of this club's greatest ever sides, it could be the start of a brand new career that may one day culminate in Carrick patrolling and prowling the touchline, his initials interwoven into his club tracksuit and notebook in hand as manager of Manchester United. It might not be for a few years yet, it may not even happen at all, but for all his outwardly quiet and softly-spoken character, Carra is deeply respected by the players, possesses a steely determination and a calming influence and has often spoken of his desire to have a stab at management.
Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Carrick - who bows out after 12 illustrious and trophy-laden years at United during which he won everything there is to win at club level - will skipper a much- changed side and will be substituted at some point during the tie to allow him to leave the Old Trafford pitch alone to a standing ovation in honour of his loyal and unstinting service ahead of the traditional end of season lap of honour - a nice sentimental touch from the boss to ensure a richly deserved swansong for a criminally under-rated and under-appreciated player. Carrick has made only four appearances this season, and - as Wayne Rooney was last season - been gradually phased out of Jose's evolving United team. Never a star in the traditional sense of Cantona, a Beckham or a CR7, Carrick was vital to our greatest successes in the modern era despite going under the radar. Carefully constructing attacks and dictating play, he boasted a phenomenal range of passing, his positioning and composure was excellent, and his reading of the game faultless. Throw in his immense and unyielding consistency, and you have the perfect deep-lying playmaker.
Eyebrows were raised when Sir Alex parted with £16mil to sign Carrick from Tottenham in 2006, but he quickly won over the early doubters to become a key cog in a metronomic midfield of grit-and-guile alongside the equally as pivotal and much more celebrated figure of Paul Scholes. The pair developed into the string-pulling heartbeat of United's 2008 Double winners - a side widely regarded as among the finest in our history and our last 'truly great' team. Carrick is the last man standing from that vintage, his final flourish synonymous with the passing of time as the flame flickers and dies as a last reminder of United's golden age. As he did throughout his decorated playing days, Carrick will be working hard to improve and develop other United players from the touchline in a typically understated manner.
Thanks for the memories, Carras...