Saturday 18 November 2017

Did Michael Carrick say his Old Trafford farewell after Bournemouth victory?

Is this the last time we will see Michael Carrick in a Manchester United shirt?
Is this the last time we will see Michael Carrick in a Manchester United shirt?

Jack de Menezes

Louis van Gaal’s declaration that he will be Manchester United manager next season looks bad news for veteran midfielder Michael Carrick after he took to the Old Trafford pitch on Tuesday night following the 3-1 win over Bournemouth in what appeared to be his farewell to the home fans.

Carrick is out of contract with United at the end of the season and after 10 years with the club, the second-longest serving current player appears to be heading for the exit. United have refused to clarify Carrick’s position given the managerial uncertainty at the club, with reports still suggesting that Jose Mourinho could take over in the summer despite Van Gaal’s desire to stay for the final year of his deal.

Victory in Saturday’s FA Cup final could well be the deciding factor for United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to stick with Van Gaal, but it could also be the fitting farewell for Carrick, who has been one of the club’s most consistent players since he arrived from Tottenham in 2006.

And after what could be his final Old Trafford appearance in the United shirt, Carrick took to the field with his two children, Jacey and Louise, by his side to join the lap of honour. While that may not be unusual for the final home match of the season, the fact that they were both mascots for the game as well echoes the final matches for Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, whose family joined them as they rode off into the sunset.

The match, which only took place on Tuesday night due to a fake bomb scare on Sunday that led to a stadium evacuation and cancellation of the two clubs’ final league game of the season, wasn’t a classic given neither side had that much to play for, but at least Carrick can boast a winning goodbye if he does indeed leave the club at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old could yet be offered a contract extension, though Van Gaal hasn’t pressed on with renewing his deal earlier in the season and should the Dutchman remain in charge for the 2016/17 campaign, it’s expected that Carrick will move on.

Only Wayne Rooney has served United longer than Carrick, who can boast five Premier League winners’ medals as well as the Champions League success of 2008/09, and his departure would rob the United dressing room of some much needed experience given the young squad Van Gaal has assembled during his two-year reign.

The likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw – when he returns from injury – are key members for the squad despite all being under 21 years old, while established names like David De Gea and Chris Smalling are 25 and 26 respectively.

Independent News Service

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