Goalkeeper Trevor Carson keen to show he's the daddy before rushing home for birth of his son
Goalkeeper Trevor Carson is ready to cap a memorable season for club and country by celebrating a new addition to his family in three weeks' time.
Carson was given special permission by fiancée Rachel to travel to Central America for Northern Ireland's two-match tour. But the 30-year-old has been anxiously looking at his phone just in case he received a call to return home for the birth of his little boy.
The Motherwell stopper is expected to start in goals tomorrow in San Jose against Costa Rica, earning his third cap, and then is looking forward to flying home to prepare for the new arrival.
"I managed to get permission (to come here) and she's happy," said Killyleagh man Carson. "The time difference makes it hard to chat but I've made sure her family are up regularly and her friends are with her now. Football, as much as it's a big part of our lives, it's not the priority.
"I know it's only a phone call for me to jump on a plane and head home, but things are going well and hopefully I get back in good time.
"Then when I get home we'll get everything sorted and I can't wait for it - a little boy too - so one of each (Carson has a daughter with his ex-partner).
"Hopefully a future Northern Ireland goalkeeper, or striker - as they make the most money."
Carson has enjoyed an incredible first season in Scotland, helping Motherwell reach two cup finals and in January he was linked with a move to Celtic. It's an amazing turnaround as last year his club Hartlepool were relegated from the Football League.
Now, his profile has grown in Scotland and he is a senior international player.
"It's been fantastic," enthused Carson. "Even being linked to Celtic in January - I know it didn't happen, but the fact I was linked with such a big club means that other managers, maybe in England, may lift up the paper and see I've been linked with Celtic and think he must be doing alright up there.
"Ultimately, I know it works both ways. You can enjoy it when it's going well but don't be too hard on yourself when things aren't going as well."
Carson has made no secret of the fact he wants the Northern Ireland No.1 shirt on a permanent basis and is ready to battle Michael McGovern for that right. But this week in Central America, two young goalkeepers have emerged and Carson expects Leeds United's Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who made his debut against Panama in the second half, and Celtic's Conor Hazard to be serious challengers.
He added: "Bailey playing at Leeds every week at a high standard and Conor coming through means these are exciting times for Northern Ireland.
"My challenge is to fight Michael for the No.1 spot while Bailey and Conor are fighting for the third and final place in the squad. Once they get that nailed down, they'll be trying to dethrone me. It is competitive but we're lucky to have two young lads who are good as gold."