Ex-Newcastle man eager to continue playing career, despite Sunderland release

Steve Harper
Steve Harper
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Steve Harper is open to offers over prolonging his playing career after being released by Sunderland.

Harper's short-term deal at Sunderland expired at the end of last season after the 41-year-old had been brought in during the January transfer window to provide cover for Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford.

The ex-Newcastle United keeper never even appeared on the bench for Sunderland, yet he provided Sam Allardyce with an experienced head in the dressing room and in the stands.

But Harper is again a free agent, although he insists that he is not necessarily ready to hang up his boots yet.

"The phone is still ringing, so you never know," said Harper.

"I'm 41 now, but it's what time do you stop?

"I only missed one day's training in four months. When your brain is still telling you that you can do it, and your body is still producing, then we'll see."

Harper was brought in by Allardyce after previously working with the Sunderland boss during his brief spell in charge at Newcastle.

After two stints under the 61-year-old, Harper feels Allardyce should be under serious consideration as a candidate to take charge of England, even if the FA appear to favour an overseas coach to succeed Roy Hodgson.

"My last two managers were Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce and I'd be delighted to see either of them get it," added Harper on talkSPORT.

"I know they're good pals and they're both very different, but they're both very qualified to be given the opportunity. We seem to have tried everything else.

"People talked about how structured and organised Iceland were, and Sam would do that.

"I've played for him under two spells and he would give players that platform.

"My experience is he plays the system to suits the players he's got.

"We do have an embarrassment of riches, it's just finding a system to get the best out of them."