Jose Mourinho has offered Michael Carrick a place on his coaching staff once the Manchester United captain hangs up his boots.
The 36-year-old has been sidelined since September’s Carabao Cup win against Burton – his first and only competitive appearance since being named United skipper.
Carrick’s absence was shrouded in mystery until he announced on Friday evening that he had felt odd during that match, with tests leading the midfielder to be diagnosed with an irregular heart rhythm.
Carrick had a cardiac ablation to correct the problem and is now “healthy” and focused on making his comeback for United, who he watched beat Brighton 1-0 on Saturday from the Old Trafford directors’ box.
Mourinho publicly threw his support behind Carrick after the Premier League win – and hopes the veteran will join his backroom staff once his playing days are over.
“Michael as a person is more important than Michael as a player,” the United boss said. “So we gave him the time to relax, to recover and to feel confident.
“To make the decision he wants to play, he wants to stop.
“He knows that my coaching staff has a chair for him if he wants, when he wants.
“The chair is there in the office for him. I want that, the board wants that, the owners want that, so Michael is in a comfortable situation of his future will be with us.
“But he wants to be a player until the end of the season and now he feels confident to be back, training.
“One more option for us. We need players and if Michael wants, I am happy with that.”
Carrick has enjoyed a medal-laden spell since switching Tottenham for Old Trafford in 2006, making more than 400 appearances for the club.
The 36-year-old was rewarded with a testimonial in the summer and penned his latest contract extension in May, keeping him on until the end of the 2017-18 season.
Carrick’s statement on Friday evening read: “I just want to clear up my situation as I’ve had quite a few people asking if I’m OK and why I haven’t been fit over the last couple of months.
“After feeling strange during the second half of the Burton game in September I underwent a series of tests. It turned out to be an irregular heart rhythm which has been fully investigated and I had a procedure called a cardiac ablation.
“I had to build up training steadily while being monitored closely but I feel fine now.
“I would like to reassure everyone that I’m healthy and back training hard with the team. I’m building up my fitness and aiming to be back in contention for selection soon.”
The British Heart Foundation describes ablation as using either heat or freezing on the areas of the heart that cause an abnormal rhythm.
The BHF adds on its website: “This treatment creates scar tissue which breaks abnormal circuits in the heart (and) destroys areas of the heart muscle which are triggering arrhythmias.”