Darren Randolph grabs his big opportunity with both hands
Goalkeeper had little time to think as he was pitted into action against world champions
Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph reacts during the victory over Germany at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Barely a week after Jack Grealish resolved his international future, Darren Randolph has finally done so too although in rather more style.
The 28-year-old could have declared for the United States until he came on for the injured Shay Given shortly before half-time at the Aviva last night.
It turned out to be a decent night to make your competitive international debut and a good one too to keep a clean sheet.
“Yeah,” he said with a slight shake of the head; “it’ll go down in the history books and it’s great to have been part of it. I wish I could go out and go back over it all again, to soak it up properly. But I’ve got some good memories of it to take away and there’s no time really. We’ve got the game on Sunday. It’ll be time to go again.”
The memories will includes one standout save from Ilkay Gundogan and a succession of interventions that helped keep the Germans at bay. Randolph had suggested in his appearances for West Ham this season that he has what it takes to cope well at this level. Here, against the world champions, he finally got to prove it.
There was, he admitted, one let off. When asked about the second-half strike from Thomas Muller that just about everybody in the stands thought was heading for the top scorner he admitted that he had briefly feared the worst himself.
“The cut back from the cross? Yeah,” he said before going on to acknowledge the relief he felt as he realised it had flown the far side of the post.
His part in the game started so suddenly that there was simply no time for fear.
“I just got the shout,” he said of the moment the management team realised Given couldn’t continue. “There was no time to think. I just got myself together and ran on there, just tried to get into the game as quickly as possible. I didn’t have any time to think about it to be honest. We were in the warm up room and they just said, ‘right, you’re going on,’ so I just everything off and ran out.”
He played a big part in what followed, looking immensely composed even when he was at the heart of the action and even clocking up an assist for Ireland’s goal but he hailed the collective effort.
“Everybody was brilliant. Everyone who started the game, everyone who finished. We worked our socks off. All the blocks, the tackles, they did an unbelievable amount of running, I think that showed in terms of people getting cramps there towards the end but against a top team that’s what you need to do; everybody needs to do a little more than normal; a little bit extra.
“We knew we were going to have to defend. Obviously we didn’t want to drop too far back because we wouldn’t have been able to get out of our half but the fact that we didn’t is down to how hard the lads worked.
“But, he added, “we’d been disappointed with some of our displays; the ones against Scotland where we didn’t perform. Since then, with every performance comes confidence. And then going into this game today, obviously we were hoping for that result in the other game and the rest was down to us.”
As it will be again on Sunday when it’ll be time to go again.