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'I've grown up with him since I was 15’ - Darren Randolph gutted for Rob Elliot

The Ireland goalkeepers know each other from their days at Charlton together.

Ireland's Darren Randolph replaced the injured Rob Elliot in goals tonight.
Ireland's Darren Randolph replaced the injured Rob Elliot in goals tonight.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THEY MAY BE both competing for Ireland’s number one jersey, but Darren Randolph put competitive rivalry aside tonight to express sympathy for Newcastle stopper Rob Elliot.

Elliot injured himself while trying to stop Slovakia’s opening goal, and while nothing has been confirmed, early signs indicate the 29-year-old is set for a spell on the sidelines, after suffering what is thought to be serious knee ligament damage.

And Randolph, who knows Elliot from their days at Charlton together, fears the worst for his colleague’s hopes of making Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad.

“If it’s as bad as what they say it is, it will end those chances (of featuring at the Euros),” Randolph said.

“I’ll give him a call when I get on the bus and see how he is.

“I’ve grown up with him since I was 15. I know him quite well. You don’t want to see it happen to anybody at any stage, let alone where he was — he’s been on fire.

“It’s never a good time for it to happen, but this is probably the worst possible time.”

Just like against Germany last October, Randolph was unexpectedly called into action because of an injury to a fellow goalkeeper.

“I don’t ever get used it,” he says. “You need to be ready. You can obviously tell straight away by how the player goes down (that he won’t continue). I got warmed up for a few seconds and was told I was coming on.”

Randolph also said he wasn’t necessarily expecting to play with Millwall’s David Forde another option from the bench.

The manager said earlier I was going to play one game and Robbie was going to play the other. That’s all I knew.”

And of tonight’s match, Randolph added that Ireland could be relatively satisfied overall with how it panned out.

It was entertaining for the neutral. There were positives and negatives. It was good for everyone to play in and we’re unbeaten still. So I’d say there were more positives than negatives to take out of the game.

“It’s been good — a win and a draw against two decent sides, with some of the boys getting debuts and new caps, so I’m looking forward to the summer.”

Meanwhile, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill added to the sense that the outlook seems grim as far as Elliot’s injury is concerned.

“He’s not great. He’s got a serious knee injury. It’s a real disappointment and obviously a dampener on the evening, particularly when he is getting his career together.

He was going really well at Newcastle and looking forward to the game and coming here into the squad with a lot of confidence.

“I have just spoken to the doctor and he’s not happy.

It might be too early for me to be making those assumptions. I was asking the doctor before I came out.

“I hope to see Rob — I think he’s coming back to the hotel later on — but I don’t think it’s good.”

O’Neill paid tribute to Elliot’s performances this season, adding: “It is really cruel at this time that he’s gone and done it. He’s been waiting some time now for that run of games at club level, and he got them and I have to say he was doing very, very well indeed.

“He came here, he knew he was always going to have either Friday night or tonight playing in the game, it was always going to be that way. He was looking forward to the match, and it is really serious.

“Naturally it is a big blow to him, a blow to us and a blow to his club.”

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Paul Fennessy

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