Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Michael Carrick will make one final start for Manchester United on the final day of the Premier League season against Watford.
The Englishman will hang up his boots after 12 seasons at Old Trafford having been reduced to just three starts due to injury problems.
He will be taken under Mourinho’s wing as an assistant coach for next season as he embarks on an area of the game he has always been passionate about.
Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with West Ham United on Thursday night, Mourinho noted that the 36-year-old would play the final game against Watford.
“He will start the last match, OT, last match of the PL, our captain in front of our fans, he will start the match against Watford,” he said.
“The most important quality is to be a man, MAN, capitals, a proper man and football is not full of them and not just football, society is not full of them.
“So when you find one of them you have to value and you have to keep and in this case is not about me, is about the club, the club had on him great many years playing football and now when his body says is enough the club and myself will want to keep the man.
“Of course he has qualities that we believe can make him a good coach and there are many ways to do the bridge between player and coaching staff, there are many ways to do it, some guys prefer to have a couple of years to study or go to youth football.
“In this case we decided the bridge could be that bridge, to change shirts and dressing rooms and offices and to stop being a player and become an assistant.
“I give my assistants very good conditions for their evolution and I think Michael can be very positive for us.”
For years we have watched some excellent United performances without taking much notice of the man in the engine room – the man who, ultimately, helps it all tick over smoothly, methodically, continuously.
That man was always Carrick, a man whose understanding of the game has epitomised his brilliance on the pitch and will, no doubt, lay the platform for a successful managerial career.
But that can go on hold for now. Carrick still has one game left to play. And United fans, just this once, ought to come together as a collective and watch – really watch – the metronomic prowess of the midfielder and give him the love his deserves.
There will never, ever be a player quite like him.