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'I don’t think I’ve a point to prove' - Randolph plans to keep his place after making West Ham return

Ireland’s first-choice goalkeeper played on Saturday, having joined the Hammers from Middlesbrough three days earlier.

Hammers keeper Darren Randolph (file photo).
Hammers keeper Darren Randolph (file photo).
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

HAVING SIGNED UP for a second spell at West Ham last Wednesday, Darren Randolph found himself back between the sticks in a Premier League game over the weekend. 

The Ireland goalkeeper agreed to join the Hammers from Middlesbrough on a three-year-deal — having previously spent two years there before departing for Boro in 2017.

As Lukasz Fabianski is out injured, manager David Moyes named Bray native Randolph in his starting line-up to face Everton at London Stadium on Saturday. 

Assured on the few occasions he was called into action, the 32-year-old had to pick the ball out of the net when Dominic Calvert-Lewin cancelled out Issa Diop’s opener a minute before half-time. 

The game ended 1-1 but Randolph is glad to be once again plying his trade in the top flight. 

“It was very good to be back,” he said. “In a weird way, because there are so many of the same faces here, it doesn’t really feel like I’ve been away!

“I’ve been around the training ground before. There’ve been a few new faces in the team, but I’ve played in the stadium before, so there weren’t as many nerves as I probably expected there to be.”

It was a nice game for me to come back into,” he added. “I had it in my head from before the game not to go and prove anything, just to deal with what you have to deal with, and just get on with the game.

“It was unfortunate obviously for Lukasz [Fabianski] to be injured, but I’m just happy to be back and able to play.

“There’s still a lot of the same faces player-wise and staff-wise around the club, so it’s made it that bit easier to settle back in and probably made today easy for me as well.”

darren-randolph He has established himself as Ireland's first-choice stopper over the past five years. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Randolph feels he has matured and become a more rounded player since his first spell at the London club, and his aim is to push Fabianski as hard as he can for that number one shirt. 

“Better? I don’t know, I’m just more experienced,” Randolph stated. “[I’ve more] game time.

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“Obviously I’ve played more games at international level too. I was probably only on four or five caps before, but now I’m close to 40 caps, so with that comes experience and obviously playing in big stadia and big-pressure games.

I don’t think I’ve a point to prove. I’ve gone away and been able to play games and probably push on my profile a little bit more, probably even more internationally, since I left, but I’ve always wanted to have a crack at coming back to the club.

“I’ve got the chance to play some games and come back and push [Fabianski] as hard as I can, and hopefully it’ll work out for both of us, pushing each other, and it’s best for the club. I think that’s what every team needs – pressure and competition in every position.”

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Ben Blake

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