Michael Carrick has indicated that he believes he can follow the example set by Manchester United team-mates Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs and play on into his late thirties.
Carrick turns 32 in July and has been playing regularly in the Premier League since 2000, but insists that he is not intending to give up his place at the top level for a number of years.
The England midfielder received criticism during his early tenure at Old Trafford, but is now seen as one of Alex Ferguson’s most experienced and reliable players, and a vital part of the team’s success this season.
“When I started out in the game, once people saw you were past 30 they thought you were on a downward spiral in terms of your career and you had peaked at 28 or 29,” Carrick said.
“Now I think you reach that stage a lot later and I’m feeling great.
“There is also the responsibility of leading the younger boys and showing them just how to do things and how to act – not just on the pitch but off it.
“This is my seventh season here and the older you get, playing a lot of games all helps.”
Carrick has 26 caps for his England, and will be hoping to establish himself in Roy Hodgson’s first team plans for the rest of 2014 World Cup qualifying.