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Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Mannus claims he isn't thinking about retirement any time soon

 

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Alan Mannus after winning the FAI Cup with Shamrock Rovers last year

Alan Mannus after winning the FAI Cup with Shamrock Rovers last year

�INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Alan Mannus after winning the FAI Cup with Shamrock Rovers last year

Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Alan Mannus says he believes he can play on for several more years after winning the SSE Airtricity Premier Division title with Shamrock Rovers.

The ex-Linfield stopper kept 13 clean sheets in 18 games for Rovers in a sensational unbeaten campaign as they claimed the title for the first time since 2011.

Such was his form, 38-year-old Mannus was named Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time in his career, beating out competition from Sligo Rovers' Ed McGinty and David Odumosu of Drogheda United.

Rovers' rivals Dundalk were rocked last week by the retirement of their long-serving goalkeeper Gary Rogers, who is just nine months older than Mannus, but the Northern Irishman has refuted claims he could do the same.

"I still think I can go for another two years, five years, ten years, I don’t know!" Mannus told Irish Sun Sport. "I am enjoying my football. It’s one of the times I've most enjoyed playing, with the style we try to play with, the possession game.

"It’s different for me, playing with this style for the last two years, it’s something I'm still learning and trying to get better at. And as a team we are still trying to improve. But it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable times I have had on the pitch in terms of playing the way we do.

"I’ll go another year and see how it goes. I’m really enjoying it, I still feel really good and the club have been really good in looking after me now.

"I've been well-protected this year and not too busy I think! That’s mostly down to the players in front of me. We've been very strong defensively and in attack."

Mannus' Goalkeeper of the Year Award was the second of his career after he also claimed the gong in 2010 in his first stint with Rovers, two years after joining them from Linfield.

The Canadian-born stopper, who has won nine caps for Northern Ireland, then moved to St Johnstone in 2011 before returning to Rovers in 2018 where he has won the FAI Cup and now the league title.

"I was fortunate to win it back then (in 2010)," claimed Mannus. "I remember saying the standard of goalkeeping was very high in the league and I still think that now.

"There are a number of very good goalkeepers in the league, it’s very strong in that aspect and in terms of developing good young goalkeepers.

“I remember ten years ago when I joined Rovers, I remember thinking the standard here gave a level to which I could aspire. There was a different bar to be reached compared to what I had been used to.

“I went away a few years ago and came back again but the standard of goalkeepers has remained so high. Mark McGinley at Finn Harps, some of his saves were unbelievable, as were his performances.

“And then obviously Gary Rogers as well, he’s been a top-class goalkeeper in this country for the last ten years. I just want to wish him all the best with his retirement.

“I don’t think you’ll see another Gary Rogers, he has really set the standard over the last ten or 15 years. He’s been incredible in terms of achievements and performances. We won’t see the likes of him again.”

Belfast Telegraph


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