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Darren safest pair of hands for Woodgate


Darren Randolph. Photo: Sportsfile

Darren Randolph. Photo: Sportsfile

Darren Randolph. Photo: Sportsfile

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate has hailed Ireland No. 1 Darren Randolph as the best keeper in the Championship and has backed the Wicklow native to carry on playing for another ten years.

After a rocky start to the season, Boro have found their form and are unbeaten in the last four games, two clean sheets for Randolph in that run, and Woodgate says praise is deserved for Randolph (32).

"Darren is the best keeper in the league," said Woodgate after Randolph pulled off a number of saves to earn a 1-0 win over Reading last weekend.

"He did what you saw against Reading so many times last season, and he continues to do it. He made one save in particular that was outstanding.

"You need a keeper like Darren, but it is not just his saves, he is a calming influence within the squad as one of the elder statesmen, that is why he is a top keeper and why he is Ireland's number one.

"It's impossible to put him in any bracket and compare him, because I played with some really top goalkeepers, but Darren is the best keeper in this league and is really top class.

"Keepers can play until they are 40, so he could keep going for another ten years. He was top drawer last season and the year before.

"When you look at a goalkeeper, what do you look for? Can he make big saves? Yes. Is he consistent? Yes. They are the two biggest things in a goalie. If he can play with his feet it's a bonus.

"He commands his area and he talks a lot more to his team and he is just getting better. I am really pleased with him," added Woodgate.

Despite that poor start to the season, Middlesbrough are four points off the playoff places in the Championship.