CANICE Carroll is relishing a pre-season opener against his former club after committing to another year at Oxford City.

The 23-year-old, from Kidlington, has signed a new deal at Court Place Farm after helping Ross Jenkins’ side reach the Vanarama National League South play-offs in 2021/22.

City host Oxford United, where Carroll started his career, in their annual pre-season friendly tomorrow (6.30pm).

FULL STORY: Canice Carroll signs new deal with Oxford City

The defender came through the U’s youth system and made 25 appearances for the first team between 2015 and 2018.

Some of Carroll’s former United teammates are still at the club, including fellow academy graduates Sam Long and Jack Stevens, and he is looking forward to a reunion.

He said: “I’m excited, I saw a few familiar faces when we played the young boys in the Senior Cup (in April).

“It’s great to see a few of the boys get in the first team, I’m looking forward to playing against them on Saturday.

“It’s nice to see familiar faces, especially around football. It should be a good game.”

Carroll started last season in midfield but later moved to central defence, helping City finish fifth in National League South.

The former Cherwell School pupil said: “I grew up playing centre half, so that wasn’t too much of a change.

“It was very easy for me because of the style of play that Ross has implemented at the club.

“It’s no different to playing in midfield, I might get elbowed a bit more by the striker but I enjoy a little tussle.

“I think it has brought out the best in me, because I have to keep people in their shape.

“I think it works better for the team as well, as we’ve got three great midfielders in Fleety (Reece Fleet), (Josh) Ashby and Zac (McEachran), who are in my eyes the best midfield in the league.”

Carroll is one of City’s more vocal players, a role he was happy to take on after settling in.

He said: “For the first couple of months I was quite quiet, because I only knew a couple of the boys.

“I looked at how we were doing and I thought ‘we could do something here’. Someone needs to take charge and be the one that everyone hates, but they love off the pitch as well.

“I think a lot of the boys have bought into it.”