Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hailed club captain Michael Carrick as a “great man” and promised he will start Sunday’s Premier League match against Watford at Old Trafford.
The 36-year-old midfielder, who joined the Red Devils from Tottenham in 2006, will retire at the end of the season and take up a first-team coaching position.
He has made just one league appearance this season as his playing career winds down but will be afforded one last home outing.
Before Carrick’s Old Trafford swansong on the final weekend of the league season, United have a Thursday night game at West Ham.
Mourinho will be without Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini, who has picked up a muscle problem, but Alexis Sanchez is fit after missing the defeat by Brighton last Friday.
Lukaku gave an optimistic update on Tuesday about his prospects of recovering from an ankle injury in time for the FA Cup final, and Mourinho said: “That’s what we try.”
The Portuguese said: “He will start the last match. Old Trafford, last match of the Premier League, our captain in front of our fans.
“The most important quality is to be a man – MAN capitals. He’s a proper man. Football is not full of them, and not just football, society’s not full of them, so when you find one of them, you have to value and you have to keep.
“In this case, it’s not about me, it’s about the club. The club had a great man for many, many years playing football and now when his body says it’s enough, the club and myself we 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. In this case we decided it’s just to change the shirts, to change dressing rooms and offices and to stop being a player and to be an assistant.
“I think the way I work with my assistants, I give them very good conditions for their evolution and I think Michael can be very positive for us.”