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Saturday 19 October 2019

Toon star wants to play in LOI before hanging up his boots

IRISH international Damien Duff says he wants to finish out his career in the League of Ireland.

It's a tradition on the continent, especially in Scandinavian countries and eastern Europe, for high-profile players to return to their native counties and see out their careers there, like Henrik Larsson did with Swedish side Helsingborgs.

Even though former internationals like Dominic Foley, Gareth Farrelly, Alan Moore, Curtis Fleming and Jeff Kenna all played in the League of Ireland in recent years, the majority of ex-Ireland players never do so, but Duff (30) is keen to taste life in the League of Ireland before he hangs up his boots.

"I have two and a half years left here at Newcastle, but I will play until I drop. I can see myself shuffling around the eircom league in 10 years time. I love football and I just want to play, but I would love to finish up in the league at home," Duff says.

"Bray would be closest for me but Rovers are there down the road in Tallaght. I don't know if they'd have me as I'll be an old man by then but I would like to play back home.

"I think you should want to play in your home country. People like Henrik Larsson do it, Irish players haven't always done that but I would like to. I don't support a team at home, but I want to go home to Ireland when I finish up here and I would like to play.

"I am a homebird, the minute I am finished in England I am off home to Ireland, that's where I want to live. I want to play on for as long as I can, so hopefully someone in the League of Ireland will give me a contract. If someone takes me, I'll play for them.

"I don't know what I will do when I finish up, I have started to think about life after football a bit more since I turned 30 and it worries me a little bit," added Duff.

"Football is my only interest now and I don't know what else I'd like to do. You can go into coaching but you need all the badges and you have to go through so much s***e to get them. I don't think I'd be bothered.

"Having to do homework to be a football coach is a load of b******s to me, so I don't know what I'll do. I don't think I'm cut out for media work, but I want to live in Ireland.

"I will play until I can, but if I play my last game in England on a Saturday, I will be on a plane home to Ireland on the Sunday."

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