Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Keepers battle it out to be Northern Ireland's number one

Michael O’Neill is challenging goalkeepers Lee Camp and Roy Carroll to keep fighting to be his number one.

The duo have shared the duties in each of Northern Ireland’s last two games, Camp starting against Holland in June before being replaced by Carroll at half-time, with the roles reversed for the 3-3 draw with Finland a fortnight ago.

Camp started five successive competitive games before missing the final Euro 2012 qualifier through injury, while the Dutch clash marked Carroll’s return to the international fold after a six-year absence.

Yet O’Neill doesn’t yet have a clear number one in mind.

“It’s not a headache because we have two very good goalkeepers in contention,” said O’Neill.

“Roy Carroll started at the weekend for Olympiakos, Lee Camp is playing regularly at Nottingham Forest and then we’ve Alan Mannus who is in the team now at St Johnstone.

“It’s a healthy position for us at this moment in time.

“The jersey is up for grabs, it’s as simple as that. We’ll see how they come through their games this coming weekend, the work they do when they are away with us when they will work closely with Tommy Wright.

“He will give me an indication of where he feels they both are in terms of who may be better placed to start the game against Russia, so it’s not something that is finalised at this moment,” he said.

“It’ll be next Thursday or Friday before I pick the team and that’s when the decision will be made.”

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