Belfast Telegraph

Billy Weir: Injury would be a cruel way for Carroll to wave goodbye

Roy Carroll
Roy Carroll

By Billy Weir

It has largely been one piece of good news after another for Linfield this season as they fly high in the Danske Bank Premiership table and still have their sights set on pulling off a quadruple.

Yet another defeat of the old enemy from across the city, Glentoran, looked like another tick in the plus box, but the celebrations were quickly dampened with news of Roy Carroll's cruciate injury.

The Northern Ireland keeper has been ruled out for the rest of the season and, at 41, may have pulled on his gloves for the last time, a terrible blow for him and the club.

David Healy spoke for all fans (well, probably not all Cliftonville supporters if we're being honest) when he spoke of the injury.

"We are all so sorry for Roy who has been such a positive influence on and off the pitch, and I know how popular he is with our supporters who I know will be greatly saddened by this news."

Last week I commented on the Blues' incredible clean sheet record and this was due in no small part to Carroll. The former Manchester United stopper may not be as quick between the posts as he once was, but he offered his defenders so much more.

"I'm gutted for Roy. He is getting his head round it at this stage of his life and career. As a club we will make sure we do the best by him and as his manager I will do the same," added Healy.

"He has been hugely important to us this season and in his first season with us when we won three trophies.

"Last season we missed him when he was out for a number of weeks. I know some people on social media have had a pop at Roy at some of his antics, but he has been a massive player for this football club and has probably been the best goalkeeper I have seen in this league.

"Some of these nerds and nitwits on social media hammering a good solid professional like Roy Carroll, considering the damage done to his knee, his career and his life, sometimes it makes your blood boil."

Yes, as Healy says, he is as mad as a hatter and isn't everyone's cup of tea at the party, but for the league to possibly lose a player of his stature is a massive blow.

Carroll has had 54 clean sheets in his 110 appearances for the club, while deputy Gareth Deane has picked up 16 in his 33 outings. It will be a tough act for deputy Deane to follow, he isn't Roy Carroll and how he fills those gloves in the coming months will be crucial for the Blues.

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