Jose Mourinho has backed Michael Carrick to become his assistant manager in the future now the 36-year-old has retired from professional football.
The former midfielder was given a huge ovation at Old Trafford as he made his final appearance as a Manchester United player in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat of Watford.
Carrick even had a hand in the winning goal, playing a superb long pass over the defence for Juan Mata to tee up Marcus Rashford in the 34th minute.
He will now link up with Mourinho’s coaching staff, but Carrick will not be a like-for-like replacement for assistant boss Rui Faria, who has decided to step down after 17 years working alongside Mourinho.
The Portuguese intends to reorganise his coaching staff and will not have an immediate deputy, although he hopes Carrick could grow into such a role.
Mourinho said: “Moving forward I will organise my coaching staff in a way where the assistant manager figure doesn’t exist.
“I think it will be Michael Carrick in the future. When he has his badges, when he has his pro-licence, when he makes the bridge from player to assistant.
“I don’t think it (an immediate appointment) makes sense when Rui is leaving after 17 years. I have nobody in the world of football ready to be assistant manager. Nobody.”
Carrick’s appearance on Sunday, in otherwise unremarkable final Premier League game of the season, was his 464th and last for United. He captained the team and was greeted on to the field with a guard of honour from both sides.
“I need to thank Jose for giving me the opportunity,” said Carrick in an address to supporters after the game. “It is an unbelievable opportunity for me. I look forward to working with him and learning from him.
“He’s one of the best. He’ll teach me some things and we’re going to have some success in the near future, I’m certain of that.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone for their support over the years, it’s been unbelievable.
“I have a lot of memories to cherish, some I’ll never forget, especially of this place. It’s an amazing place to play football. It’s the greatest club in the world and I thank you for your support over the last 12 years.”