Valencia grabs armband at Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho has indicated that Antonio Valencia will replace Michael Carrick as Manchester United captain this season.

Carrick hung up his boots at the end of last season after a 12-year playing career at Old Trafford, with the midfielder immediately promoted to a role on Mourinho’s coaching staff. That left right-back Valencia as the longest-serving player in United’s squad and after Mourinho’s men opened their pre-season campaign with a 1-1 draw against Mexican side Club America, the manager suggested that the armband will now go to the 32-year-old.

“The captain was Valencia last season, I think he’s going to be the captain,” Mourinho said. “And when he doesn’t play we have to make decisions.

“Depends on who is on the pitch, if (Chris) Smalling is, if Ashley Young is, if (Ander) Herrera is or (Juan) Mata is, if they are on the pitch they have an option. Matic has all the attributes to be Manchester United captain but he arrived only one year ago. But I never care much about the captaincy, I care more about the life in the dressing room and the leaders. The armband means what it means.”

Mata grabbed the equaliser for United in Phoenix, Arizona, in the first of five games in the US for Mourinho’s side. “It was a team with intensity and a team with quality that pushed us to levels that we are not prepared for. It was a good training session,” said Mourinho. –

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