Wednesday 22 November 2017

Randolph hoping to play way into reckoning for No 1 jersey

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

The family firm of Randolph and Son has made a significant contribution to sport in Ireland.

Ed Randolph came to Ireland from the US in 1982 as a basketball player and has helped spread the game's popularity as a player and coach for almost 30 years.

And now his son Darren (23), a former underage Irish basketball international, has joined the queue of contenders for Shay Given's goalkeeping position.

Bray native Randolph is first-choice with Motherwell in the SPL and has played for his country at every international level bar senior. That could change soon, although Kieren Westwood of Coventry looks likely to start against Macedonia.

These are interesting times for 'keepers with ambitions to play for Ireland.

Given has made it a lock-out situation en route to 110 caps since making his debut 15 years ago, but injury and an unhappy situation at Manchester City have made this a miserable season for him.

Randolph, by contrast, has played 42 games for Motherwell since signing a three-year deal last July, and set a new record of 16 clean sheets at the Fir Park club.

The assured Randolph spoke this week about the unexpected call-up as one of three 'keepers in the squad for the games with Macedonia and Uruguay.

"I never thought a call-up would pass me by, but I thought maybe it would be next season or the season after. I am delighted to get back amongst the squad," said Randolph.

Randolph and Westwood didn't know each other until they linked up for training on Tuesday, but they're working alongside Millwall's David Forde, the third goalkeeper in Trap's panel.

A Charlton player for five years until last summer, Randolph had loan spells with Hereford, Bury, Gillingham and Accrington Stanley and did enough to impress former 'Well boss Craig Brown, who signed him on a free transfer, giving him a three-year contract.

Brown put him straight into the first team, and when the manager left to join Aberdeen in December, new boss Stuart McCall saw no reason for change.

"Definitely, the manager shows great faith in me and hopefully I can pay them back," he said.

The loan moves gave Randolph useful competitive experience, but his stint at Hereford in 2008 ended in controversy when he refused to play an FA Cup game, with the club poised to bring in another 'keeper.

"The loan at Hereford knocked me back a bit and made things a little bit harder," he added. "The first two loan moves got me a debut against Liverpool at Anfield (for Charlton), so I can't knock them.

"The last one was a bit rushed and I wasn't 100pc into it and just ended up being an absolute nightmare.

"That kind of knocked me back a little bit, so it was a bit of a disaster for two years.

"I just want to play games and that's why I moved up to Motherwell. Hopefully I can show everybody what I can do here this week."

Irish Independent

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