Keane hints at delaying retirement past 2006

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The Independent Football

Roy Keane said for the first time last night that he might postpone his retirement and stay at Manchester United beyond the terms of his current contract, which expires in June 2006.

Roy Keane said for the first time last night that he might postpone his retirement and stay at Manchester United beyond the terms of his current contract, which expires in June 2006.

The club's captain, 33, was expected to call time on his United career, which began in the summer of 1993, when his deal ran out - perhaps even sooner - but his latest comments suggest that he believes he can carry on playing past his 35th birthday. The midfielder had a major operation on his hip in September 2002 and was warned that he might have to have a hip replacement later in life if he prolonged his career.

Keane said: "I could not be happier at the club and my biggest challenge is to keep going as long as I can. I have another year and a half left at this club and I intend to see that out. If I am still able to play on after that then I hope that it will be at United."

The club haveyet to reach an agreement with their goalkeeper Roy Carroll, whose contract expires in the summer. United are not willing to move him up the pay scale but, if he signs, will consider raising his wages in a year's time providing he is still the No 1 keeper. Carroll's agent, Francis Martin, said yesterday that the two sides were close to a deal.

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