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May 1, 2013

Carragher: No retirement regrets

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher insists he has no regrets about retiring - and has vowed to earn one more Merseyside derby victory before he quits.

• Blog: One-man team myth

Carragher will face Everton for the 30th and final time in his 16-year first-team career when they visit Anfield on Sunday.

The 35-year-old, who announced in February that he would retire at the end of the season, ended any possibility of being persuaded to change his mind when confirming on Tuesday that he would join Sky Sports as a full-time pundit in August.

Manager Brendan Rodgers had considered asking Carragher, the club's vice-captain, to postpone his retirement for a year.

Carragher, a boyhood Everton fan who joined the Anfield youth set-up when he was nine, told the Liverpool Echo: "It's nice that people are saying: 'You're playing well, you should carry on.' But the more I hear that, the more I think I've made the right decision to go now.

"As an Everton fan and Liverpool player, I've seen too many people get slaughtered when supporters think they've gone on too long. I don't want that.

"I'd been thinking for a while: 'How do you get out? How do you finish with Liverpool?' And a quote I'd read years ago from a foreign player stuck with me: 'Leave the football before football leaves you.'

"I've always had that in the back of my mind - especially as I've been at Liverpool all of my life and I never want to let the club or supporters down.

"New players will come in this summer and at my age I could be back on the bench next season.

"There might even be games where I don't make the bench. Imagine walking around Anfield in a suit on a matchday when you're fit to play?

"Of course there will be things I miss, like the great feeling of camaraderie in the dressing room after a good result. But on the flip side, I won't miss the bit where you've lost the game and you're devastated."

Carragher insists that, despite his childhood support for Everton, Liverpool will remain his team after he retires.

He said: "When I come out of the intensity of Liverpool, I might say I'd like to see Everton win a cup we've been knocked out of, which wouldn't be the case now. But there's no way I'll go back to wanting Everton to beat Liverpool.

"My brothers may go back to supporting Everton, but my dad won't, I won't and my son will always be a Liverpudlian."

And Carragher, whose first derby ended in a 1-1 draw at Anfield in February 1998, wants a better result than that on Sunday.

He added: "If I could only win one game every year, it would be the derby, without a shadow of a doubt.

"I totally get the Man United/Liverpool thing but for me playing Everton is bigger. If you get beat by United, the fans are 40 minutes down the road, but you can't get away from Evertonians.

"Also Everton love beating Liverpool more than we do beating them. Knowing how much they want to win makes you even more determined. It was like that when I was a kid. I just wanted to beat Liverpool.

"I love the derby and I could play them every week. The nerves, the thinking about it weeks before, the build-up in the city, the feeling if you win: it's just great.

"Being my last derby, this game is huge to me. I hope I enjoy it, but I know the only way I will is if we win it."

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