CANICE Carroll may find it odd when Oxford United supporters ask to have a photograph with him, but if the teenager’s rate of progress continues it is going to become a regular occurrence.

Still only 18, the homegrown talent was given a run in the side under Michael Appleton at the end of last season.

And the change in management over the summer has not dented Carroll’s prospects, with Pep Clotet bringing him on as a substitute in the opening two games of the season.

Carroll said: “You do have that bit of uncertainty and I’m sure the other lads would have had it as well.

“It was more a new opportunity for me and l like the challenges.

“I looked on it as a clean slate and if I start, great. If I don’t, then I’ll have to force my way in.”

After finishing the last campaign with seven appearances, Carroll would regard anything in double figures as a success for him this season and is eyeing 15-20 games.

As a local boy, he is living the dream, even if he is still adjusting to getting recognised.

“I was out for dinner the other night and someone came up to me to ask for a photo,” he said.

“It’s really weird. You feel like asking ‘are you sure you got the right person?’ “It does take a bit of getting used to and a lot of young lads let that attention go to their heads.

“I’m not one of those, I just get my head down and focus on my football.

“Anything that comes after that is a bonus.

“It’s a great feeling because you are making people’s day, when once upon a time that was me asking for photos with other people.

“It’s incredible and when we scored the second goal at Oldham it was mad to think I was there looking at the fans celebrating.

“You’ve got to give it that extra bit more when you’re a local lad.

“I was at Wembley in 2010 when we got promoted to League Two, so it’s a great feeling playing for Oxford.”

If that element of playing for the U’s is surreal, so is working alongside someone he grew up watching on Match of the Day.

Part of the reason for signing Mike Williamson this summer was for the former Newcastle United defender to pass on his experience.

And Carroll has been listening intently.

He said: “When he was first here I was like ‘is that actually Mike Williamson?’ “He’s just a normal lad and gives you so much advice on the training pitch.

“It’s good to take bits from him because he’s been there and done it.

“It’s great to be playing with someone like him.”

Opposition teams will target the rookie as a matter of routine to put them under pressure, but Carroll has a message for the rest of League One: bring it on.

He said: “You do have people who go missing in games if they’re looked upon as the weak link.

“I like getting tested, because the ball is always on your side.

“It’s just another learning curve, but I thrive off that.”