6:00pm Thursday 29th May 2014
By Dave Flett
YORK City's new goalkeeping giant Jason Mooney has admitted Bootham Crescent boss Nigel Worthington was a big draw as he decided on a move to North Yorkshire.
The 6ft 8½in keeper, who hails from Northern Ireland, is an admirer of what his latest manager achieved in charge of the national team.
Worthington, who also picked up 66 caps for the Emerald Isle as a player, took charge of his country from 2007 to 2011 with victories over Denmark and Poland racked up under his tenure, along with draws against the likes of Italy and the Czech Republic.
On the chance to play under one of his managerial idols, the ex-Tranmere and Wycombe keeper confessed: "With me being a Northern Ireland fan, it was strange seeing Nigel Worthington's name come up on my phone.
"Everybody back at home has a high regard for him and his spell as manager was probably one of the most progressive and fast-moving periods for a side whose squad isn't the greatest by international standards. He got results against Italy and in other different places and I like the way he plays football and the way he is on and off the pitch.
"He's never too ecstatic about a win or too down after a defeat. Other than him being the ex-manager of Northern Ireland, though, I have been told a lot of good things about the way he is with players as well.
"There were a couple of clubs interested in me but York seemed to be the right move. Speaking to the chairman, keeper coach and manager, everything seems to be right about the club at this point in my career so I am happy to be here and can't wait to get started."
Having left Wycombe, where Nikki Bull had been an ever-present throughout the 2011/12 campaign, Mooney has spent the last two seasons playing second fiddle at Tranmere to Wales squad member Owen Fon Williams.
He has managed four senior appearances for the Prenton Park club but, at 25, he is now relishing the opportunity to fight for a regular place between the sticks with long-time Minsterman Michael Ingham, who was ousted from the side by loanee Nick Pope last term.
Mooney, who also went out on loan to Oxford City whilst at Wycombe, added: "I am here to try and get in the team and prove myself. I haven't played many league games but I am here to get as much experience and improve as much as I can. I know of Michael but only through York City.
"I'm not thinking about being a number one or a number two though. I am just here to compete and see where things go from there."
Having plied his trade in the third tier of English football since arriving from his home country, where he played for Ards, Bangor, Ards Rangers and Comber Recreation, Mooney is targeting a swift return to League One after penning a two-year deal with the Minstermen, explaining: "I would love to go one further than York City managed this season and that would mean either going up through the play-offs or getting automatic promotion. I am never one to shirk from a challenge and, hopefully, we can go for it."
Mooney, meanwhile, is attracted by the opportunity to learn from City goalkeeper coach Andy Collett, who helped Fulham shot-stopper and former England squad member David Stockdale relaunch his career with Darlington after being released by the Minstermen.
"I have looked into Andy's career as a coach and he is somebody I am looking forward to working with," Mooney revealed. "He set David Stockdale on the road and that's what you aspire to - going from where we are into the Premier League."
YORK City's new goalkeeping hulk Jason Mooney is uninterested in promoting himself as English football's tallest player.
At 6ft 8½in, Mooney is believed to stand higher than any professional plying their trade in this country's top four divisions last term.
He beats Manchester City goalkeeper Castel Pantilimon and Everton loanee Lacina Traore by half an inch and is not far behind Belgian shot-stopper Kristof van Haut, who is regarded as the world's tallest professional footballer at 6ft 10in.
Mooney recognises that his height has its advantages but he has also strove hard to overcome the more difficult aspects of his profession that his towering frame presents.
He said: "I have just been measured and I am officially 6ft 8½in but I don't want to make a claim to be the tallest man in football. Looking back at school pictures, I was always taller than everybody else in my class and it should help me coming for crosses.
"My size maybe doesn't help too much in terms of getting across the goal, but I will do my best. When I first came over to England, I was already 22 so I was coming to things later than most.
"One of the main things I had to work on was not being as agile as I needed to be, because I hadn't trained full-time before, but it's something that I have worked hard on. I pride myself on that and, whereas people might have seen it as a negative, I don't now."
Mooney also believes, meanwhile, that his pathway to the full-time game has made him hungry to make the grade.
He turned his hand to a variety of different jobs before being able to type professional footballer on his CV, adding: "I have been a gardener and a barman, amongst other things like working at a car wash and a farm. You name it, I've done it pretty much.
"That has made me appreciate what I have. Not that I have made it at all yet, but what I have now, compared to four years ago, makes me appreciate things a lot."
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