Belfast Telegraph

Trevor Carson determined not to become a one-cap wonder for Northern Ireland


By Graham Luney

Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson says he's now hungry for more action with Northern Ireland after making an impressive debut in the 2-1 win over South Korea.

In a game of many positives for boss Michael O'Neill, one big plus was the cool head of Carson who, after waiting so long for his first senior appearance, was determined to seize the chance with both hands.

An early corner from Son Heung-min was plucked from the air, and although Carson was beaten by Kwon Chang-hoon in the seventh minute, it was a goal superbly created and executed by the visitors.

The 30-year-old foiled Son during a period of early pressure, and while he experienced a few nervy moments when deflected strikes flew past him and the goal, he did deal smartly with an effort from Park Joo-ho.

Always aware that a below par showing could finish off his international career in a swift and inglorious manner, Carson was happy with his afternoon's work.

"Michael told me on Monday I was playing but I had a job to do and I needed to focus on that," said the man from Killyleagh who may now be reaching for a paint brush to add some finishing touches to that mural of former internationals.

"If I had a shocker I would never play for Northern Ireland again so I had to perform.

"I've tried not to treat it differently to another game, you can get caught up in the hype.

"When you are playing with guys like Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley they lift you and it's a brilliant experience.

"Son is a great player and I stood up and dealt with his shot but it was great to take an early cross as well. It was good to be involved in the game rather than picking the ball out of the net for my first touch.

"I needed to be on my toes because they are quality players but I've got a taste of it now and want more.

"The win is an added bonus and Michael stressed how important the game was after the disappointment of Switzerland. There is a feelgood factor around the national side and it's so important to keep that going."

Up next for Northern Ireland is a summer tour incorporating tests against Panama and Costa Rica and Carson hopes to remain in the squad.

"Hopefully I'll go on the tour if selected," he added.

"That's up to Michael.

"My partner is expecting a baby about four weeks after that so she may not be too happy!

"Michael McGovern was the first to congratulate me after the game and he really helped me with advice gained from his time with the squad.

"He told he not to go chasing things as Jonny and Gareth are very good at dealing with situations. My game is to be on the front foot and affect things but the boys deal with 90% of the stuff.

"I didn't feel nervous at any point but it's great for the confidence.

"I think it was a massive statement from us against a top side.

"We could be a lot better and that is an encouraging sign if we can take that from a game against South Korea.

"I made it clear at the start of the week I didn't want to be a one-cap wonder.

"People talked about the novelty of the mural in Killyleagh with the faces of former Northern Ireland players but I needed to show I could handle the occasion and go on to achieve better things.

"In my head I knew I had a job to do.

"The majority of the game I did ok."

Carson said he was buzzing for Paul Smyth who sprung off the bench and netted the winner on his debut.

"I'm delighted for Paul, he's a great lad and livens up the place with his smile," he added.

"He's a fantastic player and just on an upward curve, he deserves it, he's been great."

Belfast Telegraph

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