Reports that first emerged last week have now been confirmed: Michael Carrick is the new captain of Manchester United. Following the departure of Wayne Rooney - who had worn the armband for the previous three seasons - Carrick was clearly next in line for the captaincy on grounds of seniority. As an influential dressing room figure, and someone who has worn the armband on multiple occasions in the past, it is a natural promotion from vice-captain for Carrick.
Carrick told MUTV:
“It feels great and it is such a huge honour to captain such a great club. It is my 12th year now and I came as a 25 year old. I never thought I could be here for so long and achieve so much.
“Now, to lead the boys and look after the young boys, to guide them in some ways, it is a nice thing and a real pleasure. I came to this club as a footballer and I am now a huge fan. I have grown to love the club over the years and to be in this position is very special for me.”
The last midfielder to captain the club, strangely enough, was also the last holder of the number 16 shirt: Roy Keane. The similarities between Keane and Carrick probably end there, but Carrick is someone who commands the respect of his teammates, and who has been around the club long enough to impress on the youngsters and new signings just what it means to play for United.
Practically speaking, however, Carrick has no business playing regularly in the team as his legs have been gone for years. His appointment as club captain makes sense - someone has to go knock on the manager’s door to ask to bring back Taco Tuesdays at the canteen, or whatever - but we shouldn’t expect to see him actually leading the team out most matchdays.
That duty should fall to Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, or whoever is named vice-captain, as we should learn in due course. In the mean time, congratulations to Captain Carras.