'It's still Man Utd at the end of the day' - Darren Randolph dismisses notion West Ham are favourites in FA Cup quarter-final
Published 13/03/2016 | 07:32
West Ham keeper Darren Randolph has dismissed the notion that his side are favourites to beat Manchester United in today’s FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.
In an exclusive interview with Independent.ie, Republic of Ireland stopper Randolph believes his in-form side are perfectly placed to test United’s fragile confidence after their Europa League defeat against Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday night, but he is not buying into the idea that Louis van Gaal’s side are there for the taking.
In what is West Ham’s final season at Upton Park before their move to the Olympic Stadium next summer, Randolph hopes this could be a fairytale season for the Hammers.
“We go to Old Trafford believing we can win, but we cannot claim to be favourites,” insists Randloph. “It has been a difficult season for them in a lot of way, but they still have a lot of class players and they are still Manchester United at the end of the day.
“The way we approach this game is simple. We are playing well and there is a chance for us to continue our run in the FA Cup. If we win this, we will have a semi-final at Wembley and that is all we are thinking about.
“I have only been to Wembley once. That was for the friendly against England a couple of years back and it would be great to get on the field for a massive game like an FA Cup semi-final. We have to try and make that happen by beating United.
“I just want a good cup run. I've never been involved in a team that has before. I got the to Scottish Cup Final with Motherwell and we lost 3-0 to Celtic at Hampden. I've never watched it back. You just want to forget it.
“Winning the FA Cup would be a great way to leave the ground with some silverware. We have a great chance. We have put a put out a strong team in every round, we have a strong squad so we can do that, and hopefully we can get through now and into the next round. A bus parade would be nice ahead of the Euros with Ireland.”
With Adrian firmly in place as first choice keeper for West Ham in the Premier League this season, Randolph’s hopes of hanging on to his position as Ireland’s No.1 for the Euro 2016 finals next summer have been boosted by his sparkling displays in the Hammer’s FA Cup run, which included to fine displays in the fifth round clashes against Liverpool.
Yet he does not believe his memorable display in Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying win against Germany and his solid performances in the two play-off games against Bosnia will secure his place between the sticks for O’Neill’s side at the finals in France.
“I have been in this game for long enough to know that anything can happen and I don’t take it for granted at all that I will start at the Euros,” he added.
“Shay Given is looking to come back to fitness for next summer and it would be great to have him in the squad. David Forde and Keiren Westwood are also pushing for a start, so we are all in competition for one place.
“To be honest, I haven’t given too much though to Euro 2016 up to now, but that will probably change when the squad gets together again.
"It will be good to head over to Dublin for the two friendlies at the end of this month because it seems like a long time ago now that we qualified. It’s only a few weeks away now in reality so it is exciting to be a part of it.”