Michael Carrick would probably hang up his boots if his Manchester United contract is not extended beyond the summer.
The 35-year-old midfielder is the second-longest serving player at Old Trafford – after Wayne Rooney – and his 11-year contribution will be recognised with a testimonial on June 4.
The match will pit a Manchester United 2008 XI against the Michael Carrick All-Stars, a day that will raise money for charity and could also act as his farewell.
Carrick’s contract expires in the summer and, despite still impressing for United, would seriously consider calling time on his playing career if his deal was not extended.
“I’ve said for some time now, as long as I feel I can contribute enough that’s fine by me,” he said.
“I understand I am not going to play every game. I haven’t really got a problem with that.
“I need to be playing enough. I don’t want to be here just for the sake of ‘you’ve been here so long, let’s keep you on board’. I wouldn’t want to do that.
“It almost depends on how long I’m here. I don’t think there’s many places I’d want to play, if any, after this anyway.”
Asked if that would be it if no extension was forthcoming, Carrick replied: “I probably would say so, yes. I think so. I couldn’t say definitely but pretty much.”
— Michael Carrick (@carras16) February 28, 2017
Carrick had already come to terms with leaving United after winning last season’s FA Cup, only for a change in management to see him pen a one-year deal in mid-June.
The Europa League and FA Cup offer chances to end this term on a high and add to his medal-laden CV, having won five Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup at United.
There is, of course, also a Champions League triumph to add as well, with many of the victorious 2008 side returning for a testimonial raising money that will be distributed by the newly-created Michael Carrick Foundation.
“From 2008, for everyone, there’s loads gone on but whatever has gone on, you can’t take that away,” Carrick said.
“That feeling we had and what we achieved together, it would be great to get every single player together.
“I’ve spoken to (Cristiano) Ronaldo but it’s the Champions League final the day before. There’s a reason I can’t say 100 per cent who everyone is going to be there. But most of them will be there.”
Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville are among those confirmed for the testimonial – players that not so long ago took the difficult decision to call time on their playing careers.
“I haven’t spoken to all of them (about them walking away) in so much detail but I have spoken to them,” Carrick said. “You know in yourself.
“There’s pride as well. Gary Neville is probably the obvious one. He stopped halfway through the season. He said ‘you know what, that’s it, I can’t do it now’, which you have got to respect.
“That’s the pride element of knowing how good you are at your peak and as that steady decline comes it’s not letting it go too far.
“I don’t want to be hanging around too long just for the sake of it. I’d want to be going out when I still feel I’m contributing enough.”
Carrick pointed to the example of Steven Gerrard – confirmed for the All-Stars on June 4 – as somebody that knew it was the right time call it quits.
Like the Liverpool great, the 35-year-old does not want to drop below his standards, but the fact United have won 75 per cent of the games he has started this season suggests he has not yet.
“I haven’t really had that much of a conversation with him at the moment,” Carrick said of talks with United boss Jose Mourinho about his future.
“Obviously that will happen, it’s going to happen at some stage, pretty soon I’d have thought. That’s something I’m really relaxed about. I’m sure he is as well.”