Carsley prepared to stay and fight


Lee Carsley is ready to spearhead the Republic of Ireland midfield into the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

It was after considerable debate Carsley finally returned to the international scene 12 months ago following a three-year absence.

The Everton midfielder retired from international football in 2003 as he chose to focus on his club and family at the time.

But despite the fact Ireland are virtually guaranteed to miss out on next summer's Euro 2008 finals, the 33-year-old Carsley has no intention of hanging up his Republic boots again.

"I'm just taking it game by game to be honest, but I enjoyed last night," said Carsley following a fine performance in the goalless qualifying draw with Germany at Dublin's Croke Park.

"I've always said if I'm playing well at Everton, then I don't see a reason why I can't continue. My old club mate David Weir is still playing for Scotland, and he is 37.

"I'm not saying I'm going to carry on to that age, but I feel good, so I'm going to keep going."

One of the reasons is Carsley can see the progress that has been made over the past year under manager Steve Staunton.

Although Staunton's name was booed by a large number of supporters towards the end of the half-time interval as it was announced over the tannoy as the answer to a quiz question, Carsley believes the signs are encouraging for the next campaign.

"It was a great display against Germany, something we needed," he added. "We had a few chances, and I can't remember Shay (Given) making any great saves, or them having any clear-cut chances.

"All in all we are happy with our work, and disappointed not to have won. But everyone wants to do well, especially for the manager, and Germany would have been a fantastic scalp.

"But like he (Staunton) says, we are building, and hopefully this is another positive step forward. Against a top-quality side, last night's result gives us a lot to look forward to."