Jose Mourinho has hinted Michael Carrick will extend his highly-decorated Manchester United career beyond the end of this season, taking him into an 12th campaign as a Red.
The 35-year-old vice-captain penned a one-year deal back in June and said earlier this week that he is relaxed about the future, explaining that he will make his mind up towards the end of this term.
Carrick made his seventh appearance of the season during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League and, afterwards, Mourinho was full of praise for the veteran playmaker.
“Michael is 35 years old,” Mourinho told reporters at his post-match press conference, while discussing his form and fitness. “With such an intense game he was having some cramps in the last period, which is normal. It is very sad to know that time flies for every one of us.
“He is such a fantastic player and it is a pity, I always loved him, but instead of being his manager when he was 25 I am his manager when he is 35.
“We have a good understanding. We know when he can play. We know when he is ready and when he needs a rest. I am still having Michael Carrick and probably for one more season. That’s life.”
Mourinho also discussed Carrick’s fellow central midfielder Paul Pogba and the Frenchman transitioning to the Premier League following his summer transfer from Serie A champions Juventus. “He is adapting much better in relation to the intensity of the competition and he is much more confident,” Jose said.
“Obviously he plays with some guidelines over his position but at the same time with some freedom to occupy some attacking areas where he feels and thinks he can be important. He is comfortable on the pitch. That is the best way of saying it.”
Meanwhile, later in the post-match press conference, the manager revealed Wayne Rooney was left out of the starting XI against Arsenal due to the tactical approach that he expected from the Gunners.
“I thought we were going to have the ball,” he said. “Arsenal are a team who let the opponents play.
“I thought we would have space and the ball would arrive quite easily to the attacking players. I believed ones like Mata, Martial and Rashford were faster than Wayne, better attacking opponents one-to-one in the last line. I thought it was the best option.”