Michael Carrick retired from playing at the end of the 2017/18 season, bringing the curtain down on one of the most distinguished football careers in the modern era.
The deep-lying midfielder had been named Manchester United club captain in his final campaign, following Wayne Rooney’s departure in the summer of 2017, and before that he was rewarded by the club for his services with a testimonial.
Carrick was a pivotal cog in the United machine for over a decade, following his arrival from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006. A lynchpin of the Reds’ engine room, he dictated play with his considered, refined style.
During his debut campaign of 2006/07, he carved out a formidable partnership with Paul Scholes and began to mature into one of English football’s most sophisticated and classy passing midfielders, quickly bagging the maiden honour of his professional career with the Premier League title.
A calming influence and the master of the interception, Carrick went on to become a fixture in United’s side for seasons to come, even filling in at centre-back at times, illustrating his versatility.
The 2012/13 campaign was probably his finest in the red shirt as, alongside Robin van Persie, United’s no.16 was the crux of the club’s 20th league triumph. Carrick’s contribution occasionally stretched to spectacular goalscoring; however, in his primary role of screening the defence and probing well-drilled opposing ranks, he excelled and was rewarded with the Players’ Player of the Year award.
In the seasons since, following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement from management, Carrick experienced a few difficult years with injuries, but when fit and called upon he continued to show United fans his undying class and commitment to the United cause.
In November 2017, Carrick revealed he had been experiencing an irregular heart rhythm which had required a medical procedure and had kept him out of action. Still an influential figure in the dressing room, he returned to the line-up in the early months of 2018 and completed 90 minutes in the Emirates FA Cup victories away to Yeovil and Huddersfield Town. He also came on as a substitute during a narrow Premier League defeat at his hometown team Newcastle United.
On 12 March 2018, the long-serving midfielder confirmed he would retire from playing and added that a role on Jose Mourinho's backroom staff would be his likely next step.
In preparation for this, he started to sit among the coaches on first-team matchdays and he duly took up his new coaching role in pre-season ahead of the 2018/19 season.