New Linfield goalkeeper Roy Carroll spoke to www.Linfieldfc.com ahead of tonight's Europa League tie against Cork City. The experienced international firstly reflected on his recent involvement with Northern Ireland in the European Championships.
"It was a great experience out in France and the last two years with Northern Ireland have been fantastic. A lot has changed since the last time I was in the squad and Michael O'Neill deserves a lot of credit for the progress we have made. The belief from winning games really helped us in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 and everything just seemed to come together for us."
"I will never forget the finals and, even when you are not playing, the experience at the games was unbelievable. The players worked so hard to get that win against Ukraine especially after a disappointing start against Poland. They showed what we are all about and there was an incredible hunger within the team to do well and make it through the group stage. I was so pleased for Michael McGovern after his incredible display against Germany which ensured us of a place in the last 16."
"The whole country got behind us and it was incredible to have over 10,000 fans at the homecoming event at Titanic Belfast. It made me so proud to be a Northern Ireland player."
Linfield manager David Healy moved quickly to secure the services of the much travelled Carroll before the Euro finals and he brings a wealth of experience to the club. After a long career in England and Greece Roy explained what prompted his move back to the Irish League.
"There were a number of factors behind my decision. After leaving Greece we decided to have a base back home in Fivemiletown. My son was able to get settled in a local school and my wife loves the area so we decided to move there permanently. I was offered the opportunity to come to Linfield and it is a big club. I know the manager well and I have come here to win trophies and to give something back to Northern Ireland football. "
"For me it will be a pleasure to play for a club like Linfield. I have played at big clubs in England but in Northern Ireland terms you can't get any bigger than Linfield. They have lost their way a bit in recent seasons but hopefully we can get back to winning ways next season."
Roy made his debut in the first leg defeat to Cork City in Belfast and shared his first impressions of the Linfield squad.
"The boys fought hard in the first leg against a good Cork team. I thought we played some good football in the first half and created a few chances. In the second half it was tough against a full time team especially as we have only been training for a few weeks. It was our first competitive game of the season and you need to build up the match fitness. We are still very much in the tie and we are hopeful of a good result tonight. I am very used to playing in teams which are underdogs and we are capable of getting a positive result."
Roy is aware of the fierce competition for places at Linfield and he hopes that his experience in the game will be beneficial to the other goalkeepers at the club.
"We have two good young goalkeepers in Gareth Deane and Ross Glendinning and although I've only seen them for a few weeks I can see that they have real potential. They have welcomed me to the club and hopefully we can work well together and I can pass on some of my experience to them."
The new domestic season starts on 6th August and Roy is looking forward to facing Ballinamallard in the opening game.
"It's a home game for me and I can't wait to go back. They were the club which gave me my break in football and I am very thankful to Ballinamallard for everything they have done for me. The club didn't get much out of it at the time so I try to go back as often as possible and they are a lovely family club. But once I cross the white line in the opening game I will be trying to get the three points for Linfield and I am looking forward to having a successful season at this club."