Carrick to bow out in glory on Sunday

Manchester United captain Michael Carrick is retiring after 12 seasons in the team to join their coaching staff.
Manchester United captain Michael Carrick is retiring after 12 seasons in the team to join their coaching staff. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mourinho promises retiring captain will play last home game before joining coaching staff

LONDON • With second place in the Premier League almost assured, the final two league fixtures are all but games for Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho to experiment with his line-up ahead of the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 19.

Mourinho confirmed captain Michael Carrick, who is retiring at the end of the season after 12 seasons in Manchester to join his coaching staff, will skipper the side when he plays his final home match against Watford on Sunday.

The former England midfielder could also be in the squad for today's clash at West Ham, and Mourinho took the opportunity to hail Carrick's qualities as a "man" both on and off the pitch.

"He (Carrick) will start the last match at Old Trafford, as our captain in front of our fans," said the Portuguese at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

"The most important quality is to be a proper man. 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 them and you have to keep them.

"The club had him for a great many years playing football and now when his body says 'enough', the club and myself will want to keep the man.

"He has qualities that we believe can make him a good coach."

The 55-year-old also revealed that injured striker Romelu Lukaku - United's top scorer with 26 goals in all competitions - would miss the trip to the London Stadium as well as the Watford game, but there was still a chance he could make it for the FA Cup final.

Team-mate Marouane Fellaini was also ruled out of the match with the Hammers, but forward Alexis Sanchez and defender Phil Jones are in line to make to make their returns from injury.

Mourinho added that the Red Devils were "very positive" that former manager Alex Ferguson was on the recovery trail after he suffered a brain haemorrhage last Saturday which left him in intensive care.

Ferguson, who won 38 trophies during an unrivalled 26-year reign at Old Trafford, needed emergency surgery following a fall at his home, but British media reports have since suggested that he has been able to talk to family and friends.

Mourinho declined to answer when asked yesterday if he had visited the Scot, saying he wanted to respect the Ferguson family's wish for privacy.

However, he added that everyone at the club was "very positive" that Ferguson was on the mend.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WEST HAM V MAN UNITED
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2018, with the headline 'Carrick to bow out in glory on Sunday'. Print Edition | Subscribe