Thursday 29 September 2016

Randolph hoping Hammers form will turn manager's head

Tom Rooney

Published 01/09/2015 | 02:30

The 28-year-old has made the most of his opportunity, producing a man-of-the-match display during his side’s 4-3 loss to Bournemouth and keeping a clean sheet as the Londoners coasted to victory at Anfield on Saturday
The 28-year-old has made the most of his opportunity, producing a man-of-the-match display during his side’s 4-3 loss to Bournemouth and keeping a clean sheet as the Londoners coasted to victory at Anfield on Saturday

Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph accepts that his impressive displays for West Ham may not be enough to convince Martin O'Neill that he deserves a first international start in the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

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Randolph - who arrived at the Hammers as a free agent after leaving Birmingham City in July - was unexpectedly thrust into the fray at Upton Park when first-choice keeper Adrián was dismissed against Leicester City and handed a three-game ban.

The 28-year-old has made the most of his opportunity, getting the home supporters' vote for man-of-the-match after his side's 4-3 loss to Bournemouth while also keeping a clean sheet as the Londoners recorded a famous victory at Anfield on Saturday.

With Shay Given yet to feature in the league for Stoke, and David Forde playing for Millwall in League One, you could argue that Randolph is the country's marquee goalkeeper.

He's not so sure, and reckons O'Neill will make his selection for the ties with Gibraltar and Georgia based on players' form in training this week.

"Thankfully it's not my decision; it's the manager's," he said. "So I'll come here and have a good week and see what happens.

"I think there are always opportunities for everybody, that's how you have to look at it. But no matter who's gone in (goalkeepers), they've done the job. We work closely together all the time when we come away, and no matter who is in there they have everyone's backing and support.

"We'll just get a good week behind us and see what happens."

Ireland is not the only country Randoplh is eligible to represent. His American father, Ed, came to Ireland to play professional basketball with for UCD Marian.

Growing up in Bray, Randolph competed in both codes and played basketball for Ireland at underage level.

He was offered a scholarship in the US aged 15, which he turned down just prior to signing for Charlton Athletic.

Randolph is still entitled to declare for America as he has never appeared for Ireland in a competitive international.

However, despite failing to turn the heads of management to date, he seems content to persevere.

He recognises that regular game-time in the Premier League will have been a boon for his chances of moving beyond a long-standing place as Ireland's fourth-choice keeper.

"When you're playing in the Premier League, it can't do any harm," he said. "So hopefully it gives him (O'Neill) a good headache.

"We'll see when he hands the team sheet in on Monday and Friday."

Irish Independent

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