Home-grown talents are always viewed with great sentiment. And Jamie Carragher is no different. The Bootle-born defender has made over 500 appearances for Liverpool since making his debut in 1997 and has shown impeccable leadership and passion during those 12 years, receiving plenty of praise from the Reds’ faithful in the process. But is it getting close to the time when both parties say goodbye, ending the relationship before it heads into decline?
All good things come to an end and with the former England international’s contract set to run out in just over a year’s time, with fresh terms yet to be offered, it may be time for Carragher to find another club next summer. Typically the no-nonsense defender is unfazed by the situation and he told the Sunday Times:
“I’ll still play my best and if I have to move then I’ll move. It wouldn’t bother me. The club will give me a new contract if they want to. It’s a club thing. It’s down to them. I’ll keep playing and see where it takes me.”
The 32-year-old may not be as good as he once was but he still has plenty to offer. He leads the back four at Anfield well, always talking and organising them. He has also filled in admirably at right-back for the injured Glen Johnson for much of the campaign. But it would not be a surprise to see him drop down the pecking order if he were to stay beyond next season on Merseyside, and Carragher has stated in the past that he would rather move on to pastures new than sit on the bench at the only club of his career. He has also said that he could see himself playing in the MLS in America in the future and if next season he finds himself behind the likes of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel then this could be a likely scenario. The versatile player has already proven that he will make bold decisions if not being played, after he retired from international football in the summer of 2007 due to a lack of opportunities at his preferred centre half position.
Rafa Benitez is yet to commit to the situation either, but the indications suggest that he will only offer his vice captain a short term contract. Whether this is enough to persuade Carragher to stay will remain to be seen.
Benitez said: “There is no news about Carragher. We have spoken to him and he was very clear that at this moment he just wants to concentrate on doing his job. I think Jamie prefers the situation as it is. The information I have is that he is comfortable with how things are and that he wants to wait. When you are considering contracts for players who are over 30 it is not the same as when you are talking to players who are 25. With Carra we have to see. He is fit and he is doing well and we will see. We don’t have a club rule about players over 30, but it does depend on the individual.”
It will be interesting to see what happens. It is obvious that Carragher is losing any pace that he once had, but he has been able to counter this with his excellent ability to read the game. While he has more ability than many give him credit for, and he has proven to be a rock in Liverpool colours for 13 years, he is not the type of player who is going to be able to come off the bench and get his appearances that way. He will either be a first teamer or a squad player and if Mr Liverpool finds himself in the latter category within the next 12 months it could spell the end of this long-standing affiliation.