Manchester United news: Jose Mourinho to make Antonio Valencia club captain after Michael Carrick's retirement

Mourinho confirmed that Valencia will skipper the team whenever he plays next season after a 1-1 draw with Club America in a pre-season friendly

Luke Brown
Friday 20 July 2018 11:18
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Antonio Valencia will be Manchester United’s next club captain following Michael Carrick’s retirement at the end of last season.

Carrick was appointed captain in his final season as a player following the departure of Wayne Rooney, but featured in just two Premier League matches in an injury-plagued campaign, during which he was ruled out for four months after undergoing a procedure for an irregular heart rhythm.

Valencia was handed the armband in his absence and skippered the side in all 39 of his starts last term.

And Jose Mourinho, the United manager, confirmed after his team’s first pre-season tour match that the 32-year-old is set to be appointed as the club’s next permanent captain.

“The captain was Valencia last season, and I think he's going to be the captain,” Mourinho said, following the 1-1 draw against Club America in Arizona. “When he doesn't play, we have to make decisions.

“It depends on who is on the pitch. If [Chris] Smalling is, Ashley Young is, if (Ander) Herrera is or (Juan) Mata is, if they are on the pitch they have an option.

“[Nemanja] Matic has all the attributes to be Manchester United captain, but he arrived only one year ago.

“But I never care much about the captaincy, I care more about the life in the dressing room and the leaders. The armband means what it means.”

Antonio Valencia is set to be appointed club captain

Although Mourinho is famously ambivalent over who wears the captain’s armband, the news will come as a boost to Valencia, following the recent arrival of teenager Diogo Dalot from Porto, to provide competition for the right-back spot.

But Mourinho appears in no mind to drop Valencia anytime soon. The veteran full-back, who was signed from Wigan Athletic in 2009 for £16m and has since played over 300 games for United, has been guaranteed of his place in Mourinho’s starting line-up for the opening game of the Premier League season, against Leicester on 10 August.

Diogo Dalot has signed for the club from Porto

“Valencia, Smalling, [Eric] Bailly and [Luke] Shaw, they are probably the ones to start the season,” Mourinho added. “The objective is to prepare them the best we can for the start of the season because we don’t have many more players than this one.

“We have Matic and Fred coming next week, so in there we have more solutions.

“And we have Mata, Mitchell and Martial. Sanchez is coming but we don’t have many more solutions for the start of the season.”

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