Roy Carroll has taken up a position as goalkeeper coach of Northern Ireland’s Under 17 and Under 19 teams. 
The former International was announced this week as part of new youth manager Gerard Lyttle’s backroom team, along with ex international teammate Gareth McAuley and Linfield striker Andy Waterworth.

Work with stars of future
As Roy’s playing career has wound down he has been working on building his coaching career, and he admitted he was delighted to be offered the opportunity to work with Northern Ireland’s goalkeeping stars of the future.
“I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago and I jumped at the chance,” he admitted. 
“It is a role I really want to do, and it helps me to help the keepers of Northern Ireland move ahead, and it can work together with my RC1 Coaching so it all comes together. 
“It is working with the international side of the game, so it is at a high standard and in the next five or six years you never know what might happen with keepers coming out of this country.”
Roy and Gerard shared a dressing room in their youth football days, but it was their more recent association at the Northern Ireland Youth academy that persuaded Lyttle to contact his old teammate. 
“I knew Gerard many years ago,” recalled Roy. “We played together in youth football. Actually, he played and I was mostly on the bench! 
“I bumped into him again in the Club NI set up when I was there for about nine months, and he knew what I was all about and what I wanted to do for this country’s young keepers. 
“Gerard has the knowledge of what is around, and with big McAuley and Andy Waterworth we have good coaching. Now we have to get out there and get it done.”

Roy’s recent coaching duties have helped him develop an understanding of the goalkeepers looking to step into his shoes on the International scene, and he believes there is ample talent out there to work with. 
“We have a good set up at the moment and if you look at the names of the guys at under 19 we have a lot of good players at a high level,” he said. 
“It’s all about having a look through the set up and seeing what keepers are out there. 
“We are looking to get those who are in form, although that is difficult at the minute with a lot of people not playing, but we will start looking around and I will be doing what I have to do to get the keepers up to scratch. 
“We will hopefully have a few camps during the season and will be going to tournaments with them.”

First test
The first major test for the new coaching team will be Northern Ireland’s qualifying matches for the UEFA Under 19 Championships. 
Next month they travel to Sweden for a series of three matches against Sweden, Austria and Gibraltar, and Roy admits he is grateful to his new club side, Dungannon Swifts, for releasing him for the tournament. 
“Dungannon won’t stand in my way and I am grateful to them for that, because this is my opportunity to get the coaching side of things up to scratch and learn even more,” he said. 
“We are only away for a week or ten days so it shouldn’t be too bad, and with international level at that age you are probably only away two or three times a year.”

No plans to stop playing
Despite taking on the new role, Roy has no plans to step down from the Premier League, and he admits he is enjoying his time at his new club. 
“It is tough on my body but I am getting used to it. I’m not back to what I was like when I was 18 and it takes a little bit longer to recover than before, but I know what my body can go through and I knew what way to recover,” he said. 
“I’m enjoying it, which is the main thing, and hopefully I can give my knowledge to the young players at Dungannon because football is not easy. 
“You have to give everything you have both on the pitch and in training and that is the main thing in moving forward. 
“Hopefully they can see me doing that. I am 43 years old and I’m still fighting to win games, which is what it is all about.”