Michael Carrick will make his farewell appearance for Manchester United against Watford on Sunday, with manager Jose Mourinho confirming that the 36-year-old will start the game at Old Trafford after announcing his playing retirement.
Carrick is not expected to be involved in the squad for Thursday’s trip to West Ham, with his 464th appearance for the club likely to have to wait until the weekend.
And while there is the prospect of Mourinho handing club captain Carrick a sentimental place on the bench for the FA Cup Final against Chelsea at Wembley on May 19, the former Tottenham and England midfielder will be given the chance to bring down the curtain on his career against Watford.
“He will start the last match at Old Trafford,” Mourinho said. “It’s the last match in the Premier League, in front of our fans, so he will start the last match against Watford.”
Carrick will join Mourinho’s coaching staff next season and the manager admits that he and the club are determined to put his qualities to full use.
“The most important quality is to be a man — M-A-N — capitals, a proper man,” Mourinho said. “Football is not full of them, society is not full of them, so when you find one of them, you have to value them.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the club. They had a great man playing football, but when his body says enough, we want to keep the man.
“He has qualities that we believe can make him a good coach, and there are many ways to make a bridge.
“Some guys prefer to study, go to youth football, but in this situation, we decided the bridge can be the bridge — change shirts, dressing rooms and offices and start to be an assistant.
“I give them very good conditions for their evaluation and I think Michael can be very positive for us.”
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_