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'Everybody was kissing Darren on the head in the changing room after the final whistle'

Randolph was in fine form for Middlesbrough – again – on Saturday.

middlesbrough-v-reading-sky-bet-championship-riverside-stadium Darren Randolph applauds the Middlesbrough supporters after Saturday's win against Reading. Source: EMPICS Sport

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND goalkeeper Darren Randolph has been earning plenty of praise for his performance in Middlesbrough’s win against Reading.

Randolph produced several excellent saves to keep a clean sheet in his side’s 1-0 victory in Saturday’s Championship fixture at the Riverside Stadium.

It came after he returned from his latest bout of international duty, during which the Bray native earned his 39th cap in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

“Everybody was kissing Darren on the head in the changing room after the final whistle because we know how important he is,” Middlesbrough defender Ryan Shotton told Teesside Live.

“Randz is just brilliant. Some of his saves are just unbelievable. That one he clawed around the post right at the end from [Lucas] Joao: I don’t even think he knows how he saved that one. He just stuck his hand out, but he had a strong enough hand to turn the ball around for a corner.

“It was just ridiculous and everyone got around him straight away to congratulate him because we all knew how good a save it was and we all know just how important he is.

“You can talk about us as defenders digging in and doing our job, or talk about the attackers working hard to help out as the first line of defence, but your goalkeeper is going to be needed eventually, and whenever he’s called upon, Darren comes up with the goods.”

Randolph, who joined Middlesbrough from West Ham United in 2017, was named in the Championship Team of the Year last season. He also picked up the club’s Player of the Year award.

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Shotton added: “He’s the best [goalkeeper] I’ve ever played with, simple as that. No disrespect to the others I’ve played with — and I’ve had some good goalkeepers in my time — but for me, he’s the number one. Easily.

“Some of the amazing saves he pulls off, I’m just left thinking, ‘How have you done that?’ Darren is so, so good. The number of points he has won for us over the last couple of years is incredible.”

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Paul Dollery

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