Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll has revealed he would not have made a return to senior football with Dungannon Swifts at 43 years of age if he didn't think he could still cut it at Irish League level.
In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, the Fermanagh man, who won titles with Linfield in 2017 and 2019, declared he was 'buzzing' and feeling like a 'young pup' about the prospect of playing for his new club, who travel to Ballymena United tonight in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Having left Linfield two years ago following a serious knee injury, Carroll played for Mid-Ulster League outfit FC Mindwell in 2020 but appearances were limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, so he is hoping to make up for lost time with Premiership strugglers Dungannon.
Carroll, signed by Swifts boss Kris Lindsay until the end of the season, is keen to help develop the club's young goalkeepers Sam Johnston and Conner Byrne but is also determined to be the No.1 at Stangmore Park.
"I want to fight for my position, I want to play and I want to win games," said the 45-times capped stopper.
"That's the way I am. Of course I am at the club to help the other goalkeepers, and I'm looking forward to working with Conner and Sam, but I'm also here to try and play football and deliver good performances for Dungannon.
"If I didn't think I could still perform, I wouldn't have come back. It's in my blood and I still believe I can give something to the Irish League. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and hopefully we can claim as many points as possible.
"I am buzzing and am like a young pup ready to go. I can't wait to play again in the Irish League. It's been a long time, just over two years since my injury against Crusaders when I was at Linfield.
"I have a few nerves but it is good to have those nerves. I was relishing being involved in last Saturday's match against Linfield but that was called off. We have a game on Tuesday against Ballymena and if selected I'll be ready for that."
Asked about his fitness, Carroll stated: "I feel fit. I have done a lot of coaching with my goalkeeping school since I last played in the Irish League and have kept myself fit. I know I haven't played at this level in a while but experience is a big thing for a goalkeeper and thankfully I have a lot of that to draw on.
"Hopefully it is like riding a bike. You may not have done it for a while but, once you get on, you know how to do it and that's the way I'm looking at it. My fitness is there and if the manager needs me, I'll be fine. That's what I'm here for, to help the team."
On how the return came about Carroll said: "I was talking at the start of last week to a few people about wanting to play again, word spread and the opportunity came along with Dungannon and I had good conversations with the manager Kris Lindsay.
"A big part of me coming in is to look after the two young goalkeepers at the club because Kris wants me to use my experience to help young players at Dungannon. It is a club with a lot of youngsters who are full of energy and I want to do all I can to improve them and help Kris and the team this season."