Obviously we haven’t included goalkeepers (Mark Schwarzer is 43) but here are the ten oldest Premier League players who could need another club this summer. Fancy any of them?
10) Michael Carrick (35 in July)
Fellow Wallsend Boys Club alumnus Alan Shearer still thinks Carrick should start for England at Euro 2016. A reminder: Manchester United have won just one of the last eight games that Carrick has started and injury has restricted him to only one England appearance this season. But yes, excellent idea, Alan.
Headlines like this one – ‘Michael Carrick considering Man United exit over no new deal – sources’ – from ESPN make us laugh. If there’s no new deal, it’s not really up to him to ‘consider’ an exit, is it? On your bike, Michael. You were the best/worst central midfielder ever.
9) Leon Osman (35 in May)
Less than three years ago Leon Osman played for England. Let that sink in for a second and then thank your god of choice for Dele Alli and Eric Dier and Ross Barkley. This season Osman might as well have changed his name to Unused Sub: it’s happened 19 times in the Premier League.
Eighteen years after he won the FA Youth Cup with Everton in a team that also featured Richard Dunne, Francis Jeffers and Danny Cadamarteri, Osman’s Toffees career is coming to an end. Or is it? After all, the famously sentimental Roberto Martinez inexplicably gave a new contract to…
8) Tony Hibbert (turned 35 last week)
“I would love to keep a character like Tony Hibbert, who means so much to us,” said soppy Bobby M before handing a new two-year contract to a right-back who had played a grand total of three minutes in the 2013/14 season. He has barely been seen since. Surely there cannot be another reprieve?
Brilliantly, Tim Howard recently named Hibbert (‘he’s as likely to fight you as smile at you’) in his World XI alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba and Ryan Giggs; Paul Scholes was on the bench.
7) Martin Demichelis (turned 35 in December)
Once cited by the now Chief Sports Writer of the Daily Mirror as the single reason why Manchester City would not win the Premier League (they did), the Argentine has wormed his way into our affections with that winning combination of a) not being awfully good but b) really seeming to give a toss.
He probably wasn’t supposed to start nine Premier League games this season – and his performance against Leicester City suggested he should never start another – but he will leave City and return to Argentina this summer with a lot less hair but a lot more respect than he was given three years ago.
6) John Terry (turned 35 in December)
Has he mentioned that Chelsea don’t want him? Does anybody know if they have offered him a new contract? Has anybody written thousands of words about how Chelsea owe him more? Or suggested that he could still ‘do a job’ for Manchester United? Oh he has. And everybody has written something? We will keep this brief.
Love him or loathe him (and you really should loathe him), Terry was a phenomenal defender of a certain type. We shall not miss him.
5) Tomas Rosicky (turned 35 in October)
Ten years and 246 games since joining Arsenal, ‘Little Mozart’ will leave the Gunners this summer. Never has a player been more allied to this modern, slightly frustrating incarnation of Arsenal than the little man with the quick feet, extraordinary vision and love of an angled through ball. At his best, he was David Silva. At his worst, he was in the treatment room. Again.
We just hope we see him again in an Arsenal shirt after his comeback was heartbreakingly aborted after just a few minutes against Burnley in the FA Cup. Would Wenger be able to resist another Rosicky run-out if he were fit for the final?
4) Marcin Wasilewski (turns 36 in June)
Last seen giving away the free-kick from which Danny Welbeck scored Arsenal’s winner, that may well have been the worst of the 122 Premier League minutes the Polish centre-half has played in Leicester’s extraordinary season.
Despite barely playing this season, he shall be missed at Leicester. This is a man so popular that a coach-load of Anderlecht fans once travelled to the King Power Stadium to see their old favourite face Millwall. Do widzenia, Marcin.
3) Gareth McAuley (turned 36 in December)
If there is any club at which a jobbing old centre-half can still get a game it is Tony Pulis’ West Brom, where you can be one of four centre-halves on the edge of your own area being protected by up to four defensive midfielders. No pace? No problem.
McAuley will go to Euro 2016 with Northern Ireland this summer and may well be offered a new contract at West Brom. “You get past 30 and people suddenly take a lot more interest in your age. I haven’t changed the way I prepare that much,” he says. The old man will not be retiring any time soon.
2) Wes Brown (turned 36 in October)
The headline of ‘Sam Allardyce may be forced to pick Wes Brown against Liverpool’ on the Daily Mail website in December was telling. “We’d have to play a certain system to use Wes’ experience and also give him a little bit of protection, because we know he is getting a little bit older and he’s not quite as quick as he used to be,” said Allardyce. When you’re old and slow to Big Sam, you know retirement is just around the corner.
Brown did actually play against Liverpool – and kept his place for five games – without disgracing himself. Not bad for a knackered old footballer who was offered the chance to retire with a Sunderland pay-off three years ago. This summer he will shuffle off with dignity.
1) Sylvain Distin (turned 38 in December)
He is barely two weeks younger than his manager. And he has started nine Premier League games this season. Okay, Bournemouth conceded 21 goals in those nine games, but sod that: He is 38 years old. No wonder Eddie Howe calls him a ‘role model’.
“Ask the manager and the other players, who have seen me in training, whether they think I’m here to retire or here to compete. I’m a competitor and I love it,” he said on joining Bournemouth. Don’t bet against him eking out another season.