Republic of Ireland under-21 international Canice Carroll travelled north from Brentford on Thursday morning having agreed a season-long loan deal with the Blues.
With just over two days to go to the big season kick off, he spoke about his determination to make the most of the move as he prepared to meet his new team mates for the first time.
“I found out about the interest about a week and a bit ago,” he said. “Obviously I did pre-season with Brentford’s first team, which was tough, and they’ve now allowed me to go out on loan.
“I can’t wait to get going. When the gaffer was speaking to me about coming here he talked about the fact he wants to get promoted this year, whether that’s through the play-offs or automatic.
“The way the team played last year was good for me to see, and the way you guys want to play this year kind of drew me straight away. I like to be on the ball and playing, so it suits me fine.”
With other options on the table he confirmed that it was his discussions with manager Steven Pressley which had convinced him that Carlisle was the next place for him to be.
“It was just about finding the right place,” he commented. “I heard that Carlisle were interested, and the gaffer gave me a ring so that he could tell me about the club.
“It wasn’t until I got that phone call that I started to think this was the place I wanted to be. From that phone call onwards it became a bit of a no-brainer, and I’m just buzzing to get started now.
“The manager spoke to me about the way he wants to work, and I also had a couple of conversations with Neil MacFarlane, who knows him well, and all of that sold it to me straight away.
“The main thing about the loan deal is that I just want to get out and play games. Like I say, it’s not only about playing games, it’s about being part of something. The club finished just outside the play-off places last season, so we want to better that.
“The facilities are good and the gaffer has said it’s a small group he’s going to be working with, because he wants everybody to be a part of it. That’s something that sticks out to me because it’s good to feel part of something. The conversation with him really did win me over.
“He was saying that he’d been chasing me for the whole of pre-season and when you hear that you’re wanted as much as that you just can’t turn it down, no matter how far away Carlisle is. It’s a huge boost to hear it and you just want to play for someone who says that because it’s a massive compliment.”
And for those who haven’t seen him play, he told us: “I see myself as a defensive midfielder. That’s my best position, because I can do a bit of defending and help the team to get forward.
“The versatility tag for some people can be a kind of burden but, for me, I see it as an asset. I know about different bits of the game, and I’m still at such a young age, and I’ve told the gaffer that I’ll play wherever he wants me to play as long as we’re winning games.
“I like to get the ball on the floor, and a lot of the players here do as well. You’ll also see me doing a lot of tackling and a lot of shouting – mainly at the refs! Seriously, I like to think of myself as a strong tackler and a good passer of the ball.
“I’ll give a hundred percent every game and I like to think that people see that when I do play. It’s just going to be good to be part of it.”
With his first appearance for the Blues potentially just a matter of hours away, he commented: “All I’m waiting for is to make my debut on Saturday. We’re obviously going to try to start positively as a team and we can then take it from there.
“I played against the club up here when I was on loan at Swindon and the stadium was rocking. The weather wasn’t the best, but I’ve been told that’s the way it is up here most of the time!
“It was a good experience for me. Obviously I didn’t enjoy playing here as part of the away team, but I can see why the boys are here. Playing for this club just seems perfect at this moment in time.
“My aim is to play as many games as possible and see how high up we can finish in the table. From my point of view, I want us to get promoted this year. Joining so late isn’t ideal but that’s just something I have to get on with. It seems like a nice bunch of lads and they’ve made me feel really welcome.”
His half-season loan spell with Swindon last season saw him notch 17 appearances as well as pick up a hunger and desire for more of the same.
“I learned a lot with Swindon,” he confirmed. “In particular about my temperament, and how to improve parts of my game, and I loved my time there. It was good, but I’m solely focused on Carlisle now.
“If I can play well this season then I can maybe earn myself a spot or a new contract with Brentford next season. That’s perfect for me, so the aim is to completely do my job here and if I can impress my club along the way, then that’s a bonus.
“I’m just pleased that they let me come out. I don’t like the under-23s games, it’s just not me, it’s not what I’m about. I prefer the men’s game.
“I prefer to get stuck into things and take them head on, and that’s why I’m looking forward to getting back out there. That’s why I went to Swindon and that’s why I’m here.”
We couldn’t let him go without asking him about his international exploits and the caps he’s earned at every level from under-17 to under-21.
“It’s a great honour to pull on the shirt and play for your country,” he said. “Walking out and listening to the national anthem is amazing. If I can do that throughout this season as well it would be brilliant.
“The next step for me is to try to play for the senior team. It gives you a lot of confidence to be selected to play for your country at any level, and it means you’re getting recognition from both your club and your country.
“It’s every boy’s dream to play for their country and I’ve been lucky enough to do that so far.”
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