Roy Carroll has not ruled out a return to competitive football in the future, despite turning his focus to his newly formed goalkeeping school.

The 42 year old was forced out of the game in January with a cruciate knee injury and has set up RC1 Coaching to help the next generation of keepers as he continues his recovery, but he admits he has not made a final decision on what his future holds.

“At the moment I am enjoying what I am doing,” he said.

“You never rule anything out because it is in my blood, but what I am doing now is 24/7. It’s very demanding. At the start of the season I really did miss it but I think these kids have given me a new lease of life.

“As a goalkeeping coach you have to have full energy to give these kids full belief in themselves, and I get energy from them as well. Yes I do miss it but I am still in the game.

“When you have been in the game as long as I have been you can’t just switch off and say ‘Right that’s it, I’m finished’. It’s hard to do and people don’t understand how hard it is just to walk away from football, but there are always other routes into it.

“When I am playing football I have to give 100 per cent to what I am doing, but I’m really enjoying what I am doing now.”

Roy’s new coaching programme has been running for 11 weeks and he has already had coaching clinics running in Newtownards, Lurgan, Newtownstewart, Dungannon and Fermanagh as young goalkeepers aged from 9 to 16 flock to pick up tips from Northern Ireland’s former number one.

While outfield players are coached by qualified coaches at Academies across Northern Ireland, Roy feels the specialist role of a goalkeeper often gets neglected.

“Goalkeepers are overlooked, especially in Northern Ireland,” he said. “I am a goalkeeper and I know how difficult it is to be a goalkeeper. There are a lot of good outfield coaches around the country but goalkeepers have to be taught to be a goalkeeper at the right age.

“I am doing 9 to 12 year olds and then 13 to 16. At 9 to 12 is all about enjoying it but learning at the same time. When they get to the older age group that is where the more technical work comes into it. It’s important to get the technique right before they get to a certain age, because they can still get the bad techniques out of their system when they are young.”

Roy is keen to give his young goalkeepers coaching in all elements of the game. He is hoping to include some classroom based work, and in the New Year wants to introduce video analysis to help the keepers analyse their training performances.

Having enjoyed a trophy laden career Roy would love nothing more than witnessing one of his new protégées follow in his footsteps. “My main aim is to get kids to believe in themselves and let them believe that they can go places,” he said.

“I’m from Northern Ireland and I look at the Northern Ireland team and no disrespect to Bailey Peacock Farrell who is a great keeper, but the kids need someone to look up to, and at the minute they have an English keeper playing for Northern Ireland.

“Every goalkeeper can’t make it but I am trying to make them as good as they can be. Whether that is Fermanagh and Western, B Division or Irish league, I will push them to be the best they can be. There are good goalkeepers out there but they just need to be taught in the right way.”