When Jamie Carragher hangs up his boots this summer, he will leave behind thousands upon thousands of distraught Liverpool supporters. For those who have been fortunate enough to watch the Englishman in action during a remarkable career spanning over 16 years, his retirement at the end of the current campaign will bring a sudden close to a fantastic story – one which the fans will look back on with fond memories.
Carragher’s story is one of a boyhood Everton fan who won the hearts of Liverpool supporters across the globe. The Kop’s love for the sturdy centre-half has grown with each of his dogged and determined performances in a red shirt, of which there have been 723 – and counting. Tears will be shed when this romantic tale comes to an end.
Many have attempted to summarise Carragher’s fascinating Liverpool career by making a point of emphasising his shortcomings. One particular accusation which sticks out in such accounts is that other players in his position possess more natural talent or are more gifted than the 35-year-old defender.
The accuracy of those observations will undoubtedly be discussed over the next few months, but what cannot be denied about Carragher is that the honest centre-back put in the maximum possible amount of effort in every single one of his performances. It is this key ingredient – commitment – above all else, which has seen him rise and rise past many Liverpool heroes in the appearances table. Only Ian Callaghan stands above Carragher on that list of legends.
Model professional Carragher has won several pieces of silverware during his time at Anfield, including three League Cups, two FA Cups, one UEFA Cup, one Champions League winners’ medal and two UEFA Super Cups. The defender will end his career without winning a Premier League title, but his outstanding displays in European games during the incredible 2004-2005 season should make up for that.
That campaign saw Carragher at his very best, expertly organising a back-line including the likes of Djimi Traore, reading dangerous situations involving some of the finest strikers in the world and expertly making last-ditch tackles to hand Liverpool significant advantages. Even now, eight years later, the ageing defender from Bootle is still valuable to the club.
Desperate to see some leadership, Brendan Rodgers drafted one-club man Carragher back into the starting line-up for the tough recent fixtures at Arsenal and Manchester City. The Reds may not have kept clean sheets in those games, but Carragher’s displays won much praise. Given that he is still playing – and playing well – there is a sense that the loyal on-field leader has perhaps called time on his career too early.
Carragher once retired from international duty before surprisingly returning for the Three Lions at the 2010 World Cup. Should he continue to perform well for the remainder of the season, could the Liverpool legend be forced to reconsider his decision? If not, an upsetting summer awaits.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Liverpool