Belfast Telegraph

Injury scare no problem for defiant Carroll

Keeper will put his body on the line

By Daniel McDonnell

There is no club v country debate for Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll. In fact, the Fermanagh-born shot-stopper put his immediate future on the line when making the saves that won him plaudits during Saturday morning's 1-0 defeat against Uruguay.

Carroll was more interested in keeping a rare clean sheet for his country – and the potential knock-on effect of impressing interested clubs as he plans his next move after leaving Greek giants Olympiakos – than worrying about picking up an injury that could scupper a deal.

The 36-year-old needed treatment after an impressive double save in the first half of the game in Montevideo, when he first denied Uruguay's £54m star Edinson Cavani, before springing across the six yard box a split second later to keep out a shot from his ex-Manchester United team-mate Diego Forlan.

"I hurt my shoulder a bit when I hit the post making the second save from Forlan but I actually thought I was going to hit my face," said Carroll. "I wish it had been my face, that would have been better.

"When I hit my shoulder I didn't think about an injury or trying to find a club if I had got injured; I'm playing for Northern Ireland and all I wanted to do was play on and it was no problem.

"No matter if I play in a friendly, a qualifier or an FA Cup final, I give it everything."

It is five years since Carroll last played in England. Since leaving Derby County he has had two years in Denmark with Odense, followed by a six month spell in Crete, where his performances caught the eye of Olympiakos in January 2012.

Carroll's appearances have been few since former Spanish midfield star Michel became manager last year and now he wants to return to England, with the aim of keeping his place as Northern Ireland's number one.

"I hope somebody gives me a chance. I had a few bad years in England, but I want to come back and play at the highest level I can," said Carroll.

"It is great playing for Northern Ireland because I haven't played for quite a well for my club, but I am finished with Olympiakos now and I'm looking for a new club now.

"Hopefully someone will take a chance on me and give me a year or so.

"I still enjoy life as a footballer even when I'm not playing but all I want to do now is play games."

As an out of contract player, Carroll has taken a risk by even going on the tour of south-America.

He could have stayed at home and safeguarded himself but, having spent six years in international exile under first Lawrie Sanchez and then Nigel Worthington, he wasn't going go miss out on the chance to win more caps.

"I'm enjoying every moment of being back playing for Northern Ireland, it's fantastic," he said.

"I don't have too many years left but I will enjoy every minute of it.

"I'd been out of international football for a long while – six years – and that is a long time in football.

"Everybody asks me why it was so long. It wasn't my idea, but it makes be appreciate every day now."

There was some personal pride at stake for Carroll too as he made sure his former Old Trafford buddy Forlan didn't get one over on him.

"When I saved the first shot and I saw Diego (Forlan) coming towards it I just wanted to keep him out," he said.

"We had a joke about it because he came into the changing room to see me and he asked 'why did you not let that in for a goal?' but I said 'I'm never going to let you score'."

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