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Euro2016 with Northern Ireland bigger than Premier League title with Man Utd - Carroll

Roy Carroll says representing Northern Ireland at the European Championships will be more significant to him than winning the Premier League title.

The 38-year-old goalkeeper was part of the Manchester United squad that won the 2003 English league title as well as the 2004 FA Cup but feels making it to Euro2016 with his beloved nation is a more impressive achievement.

"This is bigger," said Carroll, who has signed with Belfast-based Linfield FC.

"This is Northern Ireland. We're a small country and I've been in the first-team squad since I was 18. We had really dark days playing here before, and this is a really big achievement for us to get to the Euros.

"When I went to United you had players like Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt – all winners. It's a very difficult place. Some players can do it and some can't.

"When I was there I learned a lot from the players and it made me stronger. It made me feel really good. Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager and he taught me a lot. The hunger of players like Gary and Phil Neville, Giggsy (Ryan Giggs); Cristiano Ronaldo came in. It was full of world-class players."

He added: "It's once in a lifetime, especially for those of us like me who do not have long left. I'm loving every minute of this. I've had bad times off the pitch, like when I was at West Ham.

"Everybody knows what happened to me down there. I moved away and played in Greece.

"I ended up playing for Olympiakos. I won the title out there, got back in the Champions League and the Europa League.

"It changed my life and I came back playing for Northern Ireland. it's such a pleasure playing for your country and you have to make the most of it. Now I just can't wait for the Euros. I'm like a 21-year-old lad again."

Northern Ireland take on Germany, Poland and Ukraine in Group C of the UEFA tournament in France with there first match taking place against Poland in Nice on June 12.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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