Veteran midfielder Carsley joins Birmingham

May 19, 2008

Lee Carsley has revealed there was 'a lot of interest' from clubs looking to secure his services before he opted to join Birmingham from Everton.

City, relegated to the Championship earlier this month, have signed Carsley subject to the midfielder completing a medical.

The 34-year-old Sheldon-born player was a free agent after turning down the offer of a new contract at Everton.

And he has signed a two-year deal with the relegated club as they look to rebuild ahead of next year's Championship campaign.

'My contract ran out at Everton and I was offered a new deal there but I felt it was time to move on,' Carsley said.

'I wanted a new challenge and I didn't necessarily want to go to another Premier League club and struggle with them.

'Being realistic, we finished fifth in the league with Everton so I wasn't going to go to any of the teams above them and I couldn't see the point of going to any of the teams below them.

'So I feel I've done the next best thing and joined a club that's building for the future and trying to get where Everton are.

'I'd seen the job that Alex McLeish had done at Rangers and Scotland, where he had performed miracles.

'Alex just came across to me as a winner and his visions for the club match my own.'

The Republic of Ireland international insisted: 'Even though I'm 34, I'm not looking to wind down. All together last season, I played over 50 games including internationals.

'I've left a club that's going to be playing in the UEFA Cup again next season so it's not something I've done lightly.

'Everyone knows how I feel about Everton. It was a fantastic club and I had a great time there.

'We finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh so I've been a part of cementing that club in the top six.

'I've now come for a fresh challenge.'

Carsley had been linked with West Brom and Derby as it emerged he wanted to move closer to his native West Midlands.

'Because my contract was up I spoke to a few clubs,' he continued.

'I was lucky in the fact that I had a good season last season and there was a lot of interest.

'It was important to me that I made the right decision because at my age I can't afford to be making any mistakes.

'It had to be the right club and one I felt I could win something with.

'I've had a good career so far but I've not won anything and my main thing now is to win the Championship, get back into the Premier League and stabilise the club.

'I'll be putting everything into the next couple of years to make sure we get back in the Premier League.'

Carsley hails from the Sheldon area of Birmingham and has rejected rumours he supported the club's rivals Aston Villa as a boy.

The midfielder, who was a trainee at Derby after spending time with Birmingham, said: 'I didn't bother supporting a team as a kid because I was always into playing football.

'My family are Blues fans and there's just one Villa fan.

'The reason I think it came out that I supposedly supported Villa was because one of my favourite players when I was young was Gordon Cowans.

'Another one of my favourite players was Bryan Robson but nobody said I was a West Brom fan!'