Coll hopes Hearts is the right place in his bid to prove there is life after Old Trafford
IT'S a world away from £20million deals for players like Robin Van Persie, but Irish 'keeper Joe Coll is aiming to prove that there is life after United.
The Donegal lad left the Red Devils of his own accord at the start of the summer despite having another year left on his contract, as Coll saw no openings in terms of progressing his career at Old Trafford.
Since then he's been on a discover Britain tour with a series of trials at Bury, Tranmere Rovers and West Brom, before hooking up with SPL side Hearts last week. Coll, 18, hopes to hear before the end of the week if Hearts will offer him a contract but, for him, the aim is to prove that life in football does not end when you head for the exit door at Old Trafford.
"There is life after United. There is a chance there to have a good career but you need to work hard and get a bit of luck along the way for things to happen to you," Coll told the Evening Herald.
Clubs like Bury FC and Tranmere are leagues below United in terms of status and wealth, but the Donegal lad is happy to drop down a few divisions to try and spark his career.
He says: "You can't just compare somewhere like Bury to Manchester United because there is no comparison.
"I don't worry about the stuff that Tranmere or Bury don't have what I was used to at United, I look at the positives and see it as a chance to move on my career.
"No one will have the facilities to match United, they're not signing players like Van Persie but they're still great clubs with great people and all I want is a chance to play football.
"I have had 10 days at Hearts now and hopefully they'll have news for me in a couple of days as to whether they'll offer me something.
"The time at Hearts went well so it's just a matter of waiting to see what they decide.
"Hearts would be a great move if it comes off, they have a great chance of doing well in the SPL with Rangers gone and they also have Liverpool in the Europa League so it's an attractive place to come," Coll added.
"It's tough when you are going from place to place on trial, you do start thinking 'will I ever get something sorted?' All you can do is your best."
Bury came close to signing Coll but they needed to offload another 'keeper first and he's still on the books.
"You need a bit of luck when you're on trial," he says. "When I was at Tranmere the goalkeeping coach there really wanted to bring me in but the manager already had someone in on trial before and financially they couldn't take both of us on.
"And it's harder when you're a 'keeper on trial, a club are only going to sign so many keepers but they could take on a few strikers. I have given it my all and done well on the trials but so far nothing concrete has come up in terms of a contract."
Coll made the brave move in quitting United despite having the luxury of another 12 months on his deal there. "I had a full season left but I knew it was time to go," he says.
"I am a 'keeper who wants to be playing, I need football to be able to develop my career.
"It's fine to train every day of the week but you can't really develop as a keeper unless you are getting games.
"There was an overload of keepers at United so it was hard to get games. I just felt that my chance wasn't going to come and it was a big decision to leave.
"I could easily have stayed there for another year and got through it, but I wanted to get games," he says.
Coll has mentioned Ron-Robert Zieler as a role model for his own career: the German keeper spent three years at the United academy without coming close to the first team.
But Zieler has since built a nice career for himself, playing in the Bundesliga for Hannover (he faced St Pats in the competition earlier this month) is a German international, and was a member of their Euro 2012 squad. "Ron is a great example of how it can happen for you," says Coll.
"He was at United when I went there on trials and I trained with him a few times, I think he was released by United but he's moved on.
Now he's the number two 'keeper in the German squad and is said to be worth something like €15m, so there is life after Manchester United.
"Even though it didn't happen for me at United I learned so much there, off the pitch they teach you so much.
"You're treated well and taught how to behave."