Last season could not have turned out much better for goalkeeper Roy Carroll. 
The Northern Ireland goalkeeper returned home and signed for Linfield to play under his good friend David Healy and he was a vital cog in the wheel as the Blues finished the season with three trophies including a league and cup double.
But, as with all good sportsmen, Carroll is not going to dwell too long on previous successes and is firmly focused on the task in hand this time around with the Blues having won six of their opening seven games, their only defeat coming at the hands of Crusaders last week.
“Last season finished off really well for us with wining three trophies but it is a new season now and as champions everybody is gunning for us and wants to beat us,” he said. “We’ve lost one game out of seven, that was against Crusaders which was a disappointing result but that was our first defeat in a long time in the league.”
And with all good teams, Linfield bounced back with a comprehensive win over Carroll’s former club, Ballinamallard on Saturday, the Blues running out 4-0 victors at Windsor Park.
“No matter what game you lose in you want to come back and get a good performance and a win in the next game and thankfully we were able to do that on Saturday.
 “We were able to bounce back with a good display against a Ballinamallard side who are going through a difficult time at the minute.”
That win came courtesy of a hat-trick from Jordan Stewart who returned home from England in the summer to join the Blues.
“Jordan Stewart knows what he has to do. When you play in England as a professional footballer the standard is high and when you come back home to Linfield you have to keep it high. He scored a hat-trick against Ballinamallard with three good goals and he has the talent now he just needs to keep working hard and bring it into the games,” added Carroll.
The league is now in full swing with the top of the table beginning to take shape and Carroll will be hoping for another win when the Blues travel to Warrenpoint Town on Friday night. However, he knows that it is a long season and there can be many twists and turns.
“It is early stages in the league, we had a slow start last year but we’ve started well this season. Look, we all know that it is not a sprint it is a marathon. Yes we have started well but we started slowly last season and went on to win it.Hopefully though we can build on the good start that we have had and keep winning games, starting with Warrenpoint Town on Friday night,” he commented.
Carroll played international football with now manager Healy and he is delighted to see him take enjoying early success as a boss.
“I’ve known the manager for a long, long time and he is becoming a good manager and I’m pleased for him. He was a great striker, he scored a lot of goals but starting off his first managerial career at Linfield, it’s not a small club, it’s a big club and there is a lot of pressure on him to win trophies. 
“For him to win three trophies last season which was his first full season was great but when you are here you have to keep winning trophies. It’s still early days but I’m glad it is going well for him,” said the former Manchester United goalkeeper.
Carroll’s form has been excellent for the Blues and it has kept him in the Northern Ireland squad as they look to continue their amazing progress under Michael O’Neill. The side finished top of their group in qualifying for the European Championships in 2016 where they performed superbly and they have built further on that in the World Cup qualifying campaign.
“The Northern Ireland run has been unbelievable since I have come back into the squad. We had an iffy start to the first World Cup campaign under Michael with the players getting used to him and what he wanted to do but since then things have got better and better and it shows in the rankings. We are 20th in the world which is amazing for a small country like Northern Ireland. It is a credit to the players and the coaching staff and hopefully we can just keep doing what we have been doing. 
“We have Germany and Norway in the next two games and then the play offs and fingers crossed, hopefully we can make it to the World Cup if everything goes well.
“There are a lot of good things happening in Northern Ireland football at the minute and hopefully that will continue,” said Carroll.