Roy Carroll reveals loyalty was key to agreeing new Notts County deal
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll has revealed that he agreed to stay at Notts County despite their relegation to League Two because he felt he owed the Meadow Lane club.
Given his fine form at club and international level this season, the 37-year-old from Fermanagh could have expected offers from higher up the Football League to come his way during the summer, but opted for a 12-month extension at County with the aim to help them win promotion next term.
Carroll's loyalty is to be commended. Many others in his situation would have simply walked away and joined a new team. The former Manchester United and West Ham ace, though, insisted that the Notts County supporters deserve more than that.
The Northern Ireland number one recalled that it was County last summer who gave him the chance to play in English football again after fours years abroad, where he enjoyed success with Odense in Denmark and Olympiakos in Greece.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Carroll said: "I couldn't leave the club. Maybe a team in a higher league may have come in for me but it was Notts County who gave me the chance to come back to England to play and I did not think it would be fair of me to turn my back on the club just because they were relegated.
"The fans and the people at Notts County have been good to me and they would deserve more than me just walking away from the club.
"I was sitting at home last summer thinking who is going to take me and the then Notts County boss Shaun Derry gave me a ring and a chance so I have to show my appreciation by staying and doing my bit to fight and help the club get out of League Two.
"I know that won't be easy because I started my career in England in that division and it is a tough league.
"Notts County is a big club. It's been a bit of a sleeping giant for a number of years now. The club has had its problems but hopefully things can turn around.
"Instead of doing our talking off the pitch we have to start doing our talking on the pitch and give the fans something to cheer. My aim is to do all that I can to get Notts County back to League One as quickly as possible."
In the latter weeks of the season, Paddy McCourt joined Carroll at Notts County in a loan spell from Brighton.
Now McCourt is without a club having been released by the Seagulls.
He is not alone on that score where Northern Ireland players are concerned. Brighton also let Aaron Hughes go while Derby have surprisingly allowed Jamie Ward to leave.
Carroll, who has been in a similar position in his career, says: "These are difficult times for Northern Ireland players because so many foreigners are coming over to play and it is going to be harder in years to come for young British players to make the breakthrough."
Carroll has played 55 times for club and country this season, but he is not finished.
He will join up with the Northern Ireland squad later this month for a friendly against Qatar, a behind-closed-doors training match against the Republic of Ireland and then the big one, the table-topping June 13 Euro 2016 qualifier versus Romania.
Carroll is one of the prime reasons why Northern Ireland are on course for the finals in France next year.
On facing Romania, he said: "It's an important game but we don't want to build it up so much that the players are scared to do anything.
"It was great for us to beat Finland. Our aim will be to get another positive result.
"We've won four out of five so far in the group and only Romania, the best team we have played, have beaten us.
"We were missing Steven Davis and Jamie Ward in that game though, and they are two very important players for us."