U-17 starlet Kelleher has eyes on big time after Reds switch
Published 05/05/2015 | 02:30
Ambitious Cork teenager Caoimhin Kelleher sees this week's U-17 European Championships as the next part of a journey that he wants to end as Liverpool's number one goalkeeper.
Kelleher has travelled to Bulgaria as Tom Mohan's first choice netminder after agreeing a deal to join the Anfield club in the summer.
And the determined Junior Cert student, who will be bringing the books with him to study during the tournament, is clear about what he intends to achieve when he moves across the water from his current club Ringmahon Rangers.
"I want to be the best and to get into the first team," said Kelleher ahead of flying to the tournament. "There is no point in going over and thinking otherwise."
Kelleher - whose elder brother, Fiachra, is on the books of a Celtic as a defender - has signed a four-year deal.
The 16-year-old started out as a striker before eventually dropping back and going between the posts, quickly finding that he was a natural. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet and models himself on Manuel Neuer.
"I like the way he plays," he adds. "He is good with his feet, the same as me because I was outfield. I like coming off my line. I think you have to do that in the modern game. It's become a part of the goalkeeper's game. You can keep the ball for your team rather than just kick it away."
The childhood Manchester United fan - he will be keeping that quiet from now on - made a good impression on Liverpool's coaching staff at Melwood even though they've struggled with his name.
"Kevin is the best they can do," he smiles, "That's what I'm called."
There is a chance that Kelleher could be a busy man in Bulgaria given the difficulty of his side's group. Ireland start their campaign against Holland on Thursday before taking on Italy on Sunday and, finally, England next Wednesday.
"It's a tough group obviously but I think we have a good enough squad," he stressed.
Elsewhere, on a day where he was again linked with a move to Chelsea, Seamus Coleman had his mind on more important matters.
The Irish football community has rallied around Mark Farren in recent days after it emerged that he needs €30,000 to undergo life-saving surgery in Germany.
Coleman's contribution helped bring the funds raised over the target by making a £5,000 donation to help out his fellow Donegal man - a player he would have played against in the League of Ireland. Farren's ex-Derry team-mates James McClean and Conor Sammon have also made a substantial contribution.