Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Mannus playing his part for Northern Ireland out of spotlight

Alan Mannus freely admits to being totally frustrated at being the odd man out when it comes to Northern Ireland goalkeepers.

But St Johnstone’s No.1 in the SPL has vowed to hang in as Michael O’Neill’s third choice keeper behind Roy Carroll and Lee Camp.

“Yes it’s hard,” says former Linfield stopper Mannus. “I’ve been in more squads than nearly anyone else for more than eight years now yet I have only four caps to show for it.

“But at least I’m in the squad. There was a time when I never thought I’d ever play for my country so I suppose I have to be happy with that.

“It’s just that after so long I would have hoped to have been given more chances especially in friendly games. For a while I was number two behind Lee but have slipped down the pecking order now that Roy is back in the squad.

“They are both fine goalkeepers playing at a high level, Lee with Nottingham Forest in the Championship and Roy in Greece with Olympiakos so I just have to accept the situation. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating however although working out with them is bound to be of benefit.”

Mannus was frozen out of the squad for a spell under former boss Nigel Worthington.

That hurt and he says: “I never got an explanation. I can only assume it was because I pulled out of Nigel’s squad for the end of season American tour.

“It was a hard choice because I was with Shamrock Rovers and we were pushing hard for the league title. To go to America would have meant missing at least two crucial games so I decided to stay at home. I have no regrets because I felt I owed it to the club.

“Obviously I did suffer but the subsequent move to Scotland has worked out fine and now I’m better equipped if and when there is a time when Lee and Roy cannot make it for whatever reason.”

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