Young goalkeepers in the mix for Ireland squad step-up

Stephen Kenny discusses future options as he prepares for Thursday’s England friendly

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny: ‘Darren [Randolph] is our number one and that is not changing.’ Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny: ‘Darren [Randolph] is our number one and that is not changing.’ Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has dismissed the notion that Shane Duffy losing his automatic starter status for Celtic’s win at Motherwell might have some knock-on effect with Ireland, pointing out that the defender has played far more first team football this year than anyone else in his international squad.

On the goalkeeping front, by contrast, nobody is getting a look-in really, and the Dubliner admitted that he was tempted to call 18-year-old Gavin Bazunu up on the basis that he is playing regularly and, he says, well for Rochdale in League One. In the end, though, he believes Mark Travers and Caoimhín Kelleher have the talent to step up, although they clearly need to get some playing time.

Travers got a couple of games for Bournemouth at the start of the season before being displaced when Asmir Begovic returned from a loan spell away from the club. He could get easily get an opportunity again, but Kelleher’s position looks more precarious given the scale of the step-up involved at Liverpool. Kenny is adamant that the 21-year-old has the ability required but believes he needs to develop it.

“I considered promoting Gavin Bazunu into this squad, strongly, because his performances for Rochdale have been that good,” he said. “But the fact is that he has only played three Under-21 games because Caoimhín Kelleher was exceptional for the 21s.

“In training, Alan Kelly can’t believe how good Caoimhín is, but we really need Caoimhín to get matches under his belt because he is ready to play for us now, we feel. He is good enough to play for Ireland. But he is not playing matches so it is an issue.

On loan

“He was supposed to go on loan to the Eredivisie in the last window,” he continues, “but when the first choice got injured at Liverpool, that move was pulled. He wants to go on loan, he was ready to play and certainly we feel we would have benefited from that.

Ireland’s Caoimhín Kelleher. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Ireland’s Caoimhín Kelleher. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

“But it’s not easy to play at Liverpool, they are world champions at club level, aren’t they, so it’s not easy to play there.

“Gavin is an 18-year-old goalkeeper with leadership qualities and a lot of other qualities. He has gone to League One to play with Rochdale and the reports have been good. I’ve seen him play and Alan Kelly has watched all of his 11 games and is very impressed.

“And Mark Travers has already made his senior debut so we have good goalkeepers; they just need to get opportunities.

“It is an issue, but Darren [Randolph] is our number one and that is not changing but, going forward, ideally playing matches would be preferable for him too.”

Players were only beginning to gather at the Ireland training base on Sunday, but Sheffield United defender Enda Stevens was ruled out of Thursday’s friendly against England and the subsequent Nations League matches after picking up an injury in the defeat by Chelsea on Saturday evening. Cyrus Christie has been called up as his replacement.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.