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'Darren Randolph has done nothing wrong'

Martin O’Neill defended his choice of goalkeeper after Sunday’s Ireland-Austria game.

Darren Randolph was preferred in goals to Keiren Westwood.
Darren Randolph was preferred in goals to Keiren Westwood.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL WAS forced to defend his choice of goalkeeper after Sunday’s Ireland-Austria game.

There had been much speculation as to who would start in goals for the match. Darren Randolph was dropped by West Ham towards the end of the Premier League season, while he also made a costly error in the Boys in Green’s win over Uruguay last week.

Yet after being pressed on the issue, O’Neill insisted Randolph — who made one excellent save in the second half against the Austrians — deserved his place as the number one having played well for his country in the past.

“Darren Randolph has done nothing wrong,” O’Neill said. “He lost his place at club level, but he’s been terrific for us.

If I was to go and not play everybody who lost their place at club level over the last three or four years (I wouldn’t have many to choose from).

“There was no reason for me to take Randolph out of the team.

He came on at a moment’s notice against Germany (in the Euro 2016 qualifiers) and has held the position since. I’ve got much time for both goalkeepers. I don’t think there’s a fantastic amount between them.”

Randolph’s main rival, Keiren Westwood, has been in fine form for Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship over the past few seasons, and made one impressive save after coming on against Uruguay last week, but it appears O’Neill is determined to stick with the Bray native in spite of his troubles at club level.

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Paul Fennessy

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