Carragher plans to play three more seasons

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The Independent Football

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has been inspired by Manchester United's old-timers and aims to carry on playing for another three seasons.

The centre-back, 33 in January, admits he is prepared to play elsewhere should his services no longer be required at Anfield before his planned retirement.

But he would dearly love to be involved at the club he has spent his entire career at in some backroom capacity once his days on the field are over.

But, having watched the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes (37 and 36 respectively in November) still enjoy top-flight success, Carragher is keen to extended his playing career - with negotiations over a new Liverpool contract progressing.

And he is keen to stress tomorrow's testimonial against an Everton XI to mark 14 years as a professional with the Reds should not be seen as a sign he is thinking of calling it a day.

"I've always had it in my head that you finish football at 35 but I think the way people look after themselves you could maybe get another year out of it," said Carragher.

"Some of the Manchester United lads give you inspiration to keep going.

"I want to play football until I'm about 35 or 36 but if the end was before that I'd obviously have to go somewhere else and do something else - I wouldn't just stop playing football.

"If Liverpool said at 34 my time was up I'd probably have to go and do something for a couple of years.

"But I don't think I would want to step down a level (to the Championship) - hopefully it won't have to come to that.

"As long as the manager keeps picking me. I'll keep doing what I always do: train hard and make it difficult for him not to pick me.

"A time like this is a time to look back to see what you have achieved but I want to keep playing.

"Obviously there will be a day in the future when that stops happening, I'm aware of that, but hopefully people don't think it is the end."

Carragher, a great watcher and student of the game, has long been touted for a place among Liverpool's backroom staff - and possibly eventually the manager's job - when he finally hangs up his boots.

The fact fellow veteran centre-back Sami Hyypia was offered something similar when his playing contract was not renewed just over a year ago (the Finn opted instead to carry on playing in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen) bodes well for the Bootle-born defender.

But he accepts walking into a job at Liverpool is not quite as easy as that.

"I think it would find it very hard not to have football in my life. If I go down that road I might be coaching, scouting...I don't know," he added.

"I look at the managers now and they move about a lot; they in the job for a couple of years and the move somewhere around the world and I don't know if I would do that to my kids and the family.

"Here would be great. But Liverpool always have top managers and you would have to earn your stripes." :

All proceeds from tomorrow's game (2pm kick-off) and evening gala dinner go to Carragher's 23 Foundation, which supports local charities and groups.