PALMER: WHY I WANT TO PLAY AGAIN
Football Post article:
transcribed by carole
Carlton Palmer: Why I want to play again:
I'm 39 but still very fit, the Stags boss tells Mark Roach.
MANSFIELD TOWN manager Carlton Palmer intends to play regularly for the Stags next season.
Palmer revealed he will make his playing comeback when Mansfield Town entertain Derby County in a pre-season friendly at Field Mill on July 16.
The Stags boss, who will be 40 in December, plans to take on an active player-manager role next season – more than two years after his last appearance in the Football League.
Palmer, who played in the League of Ireland with Dublin City last season and still plays in veterans' games, was sent off the last time he played for a Football League club – in Stockport County's 2-0 win against Cheltenham at Whaddon Road in February 2003. But he believes he can have a major influence on the pitch next term.
The former England international made more than 700 appearances for West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Coventry, Watford and Stockport, scoring 40 goals.
He believes that with Peter Shirtliff on board as his new assistant manager, he can make a successful return as a player.
“I've had experience of being a player-manager at Stockport and I'm aware of the pitfalls,” he said. “With the transfer window coming in next season, I looked at the situation and decided I can still have an effect on the game. Having Peter Shirtliff as assistant manager will help. It means that if I'm in the team, I can focus on playing. I will then watch the video on the Sunday and speak to the players about the game on the Monday.
“Substitutions will be down to Peter, but most of the time we will have discussed what we're going to do, depending on how the match is going. I trust Peter's judgement and if he decides to do something we haven't discussed, I will accept it.”
While Palmer said playing regularly next season is his aim, he is focussing on pre-season for the time being.
“I'm fit and I feel good. I'm looking to get in the best shape I possibly can. “I've got a fitness guy at the club who is doing a specific programme with me. I can be of benefit to the side from set pieces and it won't cost the club anything to have me as a player. I can't go out and sign an experience player who is better than me for nothing.
“You get into a routine when you retire, but I've changed my lifestyle and I'm determined to be successful. I have now got a routine I am happy with. I will pick the team and my selection will be discussed with Peter. But there's a long way to go to the start of the season.”
Palmer believes he can help Mansfield's young players improve by playing alongside them.
“The majority of next season's team will be young and part of my thinking is that I want to help youngsters like Giles Coke. He will learn from me. I'm going to play again for the team and for personal reasons.
“Ron Atkinson said I shouldn't have stopped playing when I did and I want personal success and success for the team. Teddy Sheringham is still going at 39. I'm very fit. It's just about focus.
“I stopped because I didn't have the desire to train intensively, but I'm ready to go again. We're governed by finances and I'm still able to do it. I'm looking forward to next season anyway, this has just added an extra buzz. I'm very positive, but I don't want to make a big song and dance about it. I've got to get through pre-season first, but I'm fitter than a lot of other players.”
“Steve Staunton and Paul Ince are still playing and I'm fitter than them. I've always kept fit, but playing requires a different kind of fitness. It will make it easier for me to get across to players what standards are required if they can see that I've got myself fit enough to play.
“It's a major thing to be out there and to be able to use my experience to influence the game. I'm not concerned about making my comeback. It will only be a problem if I allow it to be and I'm not worried.
“Dennis Wise did it at Millwall but I won't know if I will play regularly until next season. I've no right to say that I will do, but I've got no doubt in my ability.”
One of Palmers main aims is to use his influence on the pitch to help Mansfield be successful.
But he would not be drawn on what position he will play in.
“I know what I want to achieve next season, but it's going to be difficult.
“I've played at clubs which haven't had the biggest budget but we've worked at it and it's paid off.”
Latest | June 2005