Former Sunderland keeper out to stake Northern Ireland Euro 2016 claim

Former Sunderland keeper Trevor Carson is this week attempting to win a place in the Northern Ireland squad for the Euro 2016 finals in France.
Hartlepool United's former Sunderland keeper, Trevor CarsonHartlepool United's former Sunderland keeper, Trevor Carson
Hartlepool United's former Sunderland keeper, Trevor Carson

Carson– who has won four player of the year awards at Hartlepool United this season – is in the middle of a four-day training camp in Manchester, where he hopes to impress manager Michael O’Neill.

Northern Ireland then head to Dublin for five days, before a friendly against Belarus at Windsor Park on May 27 and a June 4 visit to Slovakia.

“I’ll look to show what I can do,” said the 28-year-old.

Carson is one of four keepers chasing three spots.

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Notts County veteran Roy Carroll and Hamilton’s Michael McGovern look nailed on for two of the places, with Carson seemingly battling it out with Alan Mannus for the third position.

Carson has been in stunning form for Pools while Mannus has been on the bench for St Johnstone for the latter weeks of the season.

The Pools keeper was on the bench for the recent friendly against Wales in Cardiff after coming in from the cold. He looked in contention at the start of the season too, only to suffer a toe injury.

“I’d got a taste of it last summer,” he said. “I had half an hour in a behind-closed doors game against the Republic of Ireland and did well.

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“I had got in for the qualifiers at the start of the season but then I injured my toe here.

“Alan got back in and then has done very well in training, by all accounts.

“But I’m an optimist, I’ll keep believing.

“It’s probably between me and him and I just hope I can give them some food for thought on the training camp.”

While Carson has been outstanding for Pools, he rues his luck that Northern Ireland goalkeeping coach Maik Taylor has been to the ‘wrong games’ to watch him!

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“Maik’s been to a few games,” explained Carson. “Bristol Rovers where we lost 4-1 and Notts County at home when I came out like Superman and missed the ball.

“I said to him ‘can you not come to a game when it’s gone well?’.

“Maik was at Oxford which we lost but I did not have a great deal to do - it’s nice that they are watching me.

“If I got called up there would be no cliche for it!”