Carsley: I won't hang up boots yet

Aidan Fitzmaurice

FOURTEEN years after he made his senior debut with Derby County, former Ireland midfielder Lee Carsley says that retirement isn't on his agenda just yet as he plans to carry on playing for as long as he can.

He's not getting any younger -- Carsley turns 37 next February -- but he's still a key man in the Championship.

Roy Keane made a very strong bid to bring Carsley to Ipswich Town but family reasons persuaded him to stay in the English midlands. The Tractor Boys would probably have not ended up in the trouble they're currently in if they had been able to land Carsley as Keane's side have sorely missed an experienced midfielder this term.

But Coventry -- who have a very strong Irish presence this season (see panel) -- are very glad to have Carsley in the side as he is not showing his age.

"I feel OK, and if I didn't I wouldn't have carried on playing this season," says Carsley, whose contract is up at the end of the season.

"I still feel I have got something to offer and when I think I haven't got anything to contribute in games then I will stop playing.

"I will sit down and have a chat with the gaffer at some point but I am not in any rush and I am sure he's not either," added the Irish international.

"It's just in the back of my mind at the minute and it will depend on how the gaffer sees the club going and what state I am in.

"Ask me again in another 27 or so games and I might say, 'forget it'.

"The fitness coach, Andy O'Boyle, has done a great programme for me during the week so a lot of my training gets changed to what the lads do, which is good.

"And it is working because I am feeling good and ready for games."

Carsley has not been involved with Ireland at all in the past two years, his last appearance in green coming in the game at home to Brazil under Don Givens back in 2008.

But he's been a key figure for Coventry, his second spell with the club.

Bothroyd's side have come up with some impressive results in recent weeks and have moved up to fifth in the Championship table, just three points behind second-placed Cardiff.


But the 36-year-old will miss tomorrow's important game with promotion rivals Norwich City due to suspension, resulting from a booking for a foul on fellow Irishman Shane Long, the first time he's missed a league game this season.

"I booked (Egyptian resort) Sharm El Sheikh in the week so I thought I'd get away for a bit of sun," he joked.

"I haven't missed a game yet this season, so it is going to be disappointing in that respect, but we have got a big enough squad and good enough players to come in so hopefully it won't make too much of a difference.

"To be honest I thought I was a bit unlucky, but five bookings in 21 games for a midfielder isn't too bad really -- I was always going to get suspended at some point."