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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Carroll hoping to find English club

Published 01/06/2014 | 17:32

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Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll is eyeing a return to England

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll is crossing his fingers an English club takes a chance on him this summer.

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The former Manchester United number one, now 36, is a free agent after the end of his contract with Greek champions Olympiacos and is eager to return to familiar shores.

Carroll has not played in England since leaving Derby five years ago, instead opting to take the route less travelled - first in Denmark with OB Odense, then with OFI Crete before being snapped up by Olympiacos in 2012.

He established himself as a fan favourite when, with his first touch for the club, he saved a penalty in a Europa League victory over Rubin Kazan.

Carroll went on to play for the club in the Champions League the following year, his first appearance in the competition since lining up for United in 2005, but a change of management saw him drop down the pecking order this term.

The veteran is now ready to move his family back home and is eager for regular football as he looks to retain his place in the national side.

Carroll struggled with injuries and depression following his time at Old Trafford, and his spells at West Ham, Rangers and Derby were little to cheer about, but he has been a strong performer since being recalled from a six-year international exile by Michael O'Neill.

"I hope somebody gives me a chance. I had a few bad years in England but I want to come back and play at the highest level I can," he said ahead of Wednesday's friendly clash with Chile.

"It is great playing for Northern Ireland again because I haven't played for quite a while for my club. But I am finished with Olympiacos now and I'm looking for a new club.

"Hopefully someone will take a chance on me and give me a year or so.

"I'd been out of international football for a long while, six years, and that is a long time in football.

"Everybody asks me why it was so long but it wasn't my idea but it makes be appreciate every day now.

"I still enjoy life as a footballer even when I'm not playing but all I want to do now is play games."

Should any potential suitors need a reference for Carroll, O'Neill is on hand with a glowing appreciation.

"Roy Carroll would be a good goalkeeper for any club on the lookout," O'Neill told Press Association Sport.

"He's really focused now, he wants to maximise what he has left in his career and he has a goal in his head to get 50 caps for his country.

"He'd be a fantastic signing for anyone in the Premier League or the Championship."

The Enniskillen man was at his very best in the 1-0 friendly defeat in Uruguay on Friday, catching the eye with a stunning double save from Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan.

The second of those stops saw him collide with the post, clattering his shoulder, but he never considered going in half-hearted despite the fact injury could harm his chances of finding new employers.

"We lost the game and that's the worst thing but it is nice to make a double save from two players like Cavani and Forlan, that's not bad," Carroll said.

"When I hit my shoulder I didn't think about an injury or trying to find a club if I had got injured; I'm playing for Northern Ireland and all I wanted to do was play on and it was no problem.

"No matter if I play in a friendly, a qualifier or an FA Cup final, I give it everything.

"I'm enjoying every moment of being back playing for Northern Ireland, it's fantastic.

"I don't have too many years left but I will enjoy every minute of it."

Press Association

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