IRISH LEAGUE: Coleraine's Carson ready for first European adventure
Josh Carson is relishing the opportunity of playing in Europe for the first time after putting pen-to-paper on a two-year deal with Coleraine.
The 23-year-old joins the Bannsiders after a year with Linfield and he is looking forward to the new challenge.
“I am delighted to join a massive football club who came on leaps and bounds last season,” Carson said.
“This will be the first time I’ve been involved with a team playing in Europe.
“I’m really looking forward to it, obviously when you play in these competitions you’re more than likely to come up against full-time opposition, so it will be a good challenge and a hard test for us all.”
Carson brings plenty of experience to The Showgrounds having played for both Ipswich Town and York City in England and also won several Northern Ireland caps.
“I’m only 23 but I have a lot of experience under my belt,” he said.
“Hopefully I can show the lads here that it doesn’t matter what age you are, it shouldn’t hold you back from doing certain things in football.
“We all want to play at as high a level as possible, hopefully I can show the boys here that you can do it and impart my influence on them.
“My aim is to influence the team and try to get back to the highest level. I am delighted to have signed a two-year contract, but my goal is to play at a high standard and contribute a few goals and assists for the team.
“When you’re not getting football elsewhere you look about and see what clubs will be interested in you, and fortunately for me Coleraine was one of those clubs and it was a no brainer to sign.
“Watching Coleraine last season from my perspective, you could the progression in the team and they were really impressive.
“I have a few friends who are Coleraine fans. I’m always chatting to them and they have been telling me about the team and the players and how they have progressed in the past few years under Oran.
“I’ve watched a fair bit of them too so I know how they like to play.
“It’s a great ground too, I played here in the Milk Cup.
“The club is really going in the right direction and we will be looking to keep that going next season.”
Oran Kearney is pleased to have landed Carson with a number of clubs keen to snap him up.
“Josh fits the bill in every way,” he said.
“He may be only 23 but he has over 100 games in England behind him as well as several full international caps. Josh has serious pedigree and quality. It has probably been a frustrating last couple of years for him though.
“He came home last season and a number of clubs were interested in him. He signed for Linfield and played a lot of games at the start before breaking his toe.
“When he came back they were on that fantastic run and the team was picking itself.
“We are delighted to be bringing him to Coleraine. He offers great versatility across the midfield, which is great for us.
“It’s always good to get your business done early, but it’s not always that simple,” he said.
“You’re always looking for players, but this is the manic time of the year, you’re never off the phone.
“The key thing is to bring in quality. I said to Winkie Murphy at Christmas when we were identifying targets we need to bring in players of real quality who would challenge the players here and force them to keep improving.”