Darren Randolph rules out seeking exit from West Ham

Darren Randolph has revealed that he would be reluctant to seek a transfer away from West Ham United should his lack of first-team action at the Premier League club threaten his spot as Ireland’s first-choice goalkeeper.

The 29-year-old joined the London outfit from Birmingham City in 2015 but has had to make do with appearances in domestic cup and Europa League games as manager Slaven Bilic continues to keep faith with Spanish stopper Adrian for league fixtures.

Bilic repeated his intention to stick by the Spaniard only last weekend — “he is my number one for sure” — after Adrian’s reckless decision to sprint from his line allowed Stoke City’s Bojan Krkic to volley an equaliser into an empty net at the London Stadium.

Martin O’Neill has likewise stuck with Randolph since the Wicklow man appeared as a sub for the injured Shay Given at home to Germany just over a year ago, regardless of the fact that other contenders for the job of netminder are playing far more football.

Keiren Westwood continues to impress with Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship where he has already appeared 15 times this season while Colin Doyle, the other custodian in the squad for this week’s World Cup appointment away to Austria, has played 19 times for Bradford in League One.

“I’m not going to give up on Premiership football already,” said Randolph.

“This is just the start of my second season (with West Ham). I’m not just going to up and leave all of a sudden, if (he is dropped by O’Neill). 

“If it were to happen, it happens. I’ve had an enjoyable year but hopefully that’s not the end of it.”

Competition for the one place is only going to increase at international level with the news that Rob Elliott returned to training with Newcastle United this week.

Randolph has actually spoken to his international colleague since, but he isn’t about to fret over who else is doing what.

“I’m not the kind to lose sleep over or worry about someone else,” he said.

Very little seems to disturb his equilibrium. Randolph speaks oh-so-softly and carefully and you believe him when he says he has rarely been tempted to knock on Bilic’s door and demand a shot at the main gig between the sticks.

It just doesn’t seem his style.

Neither did the story — long since revealed to be a fabrication — that he was under the influence of alcohol, along with clubmate Andy Carroll, one afternoon recently after a night out that had been sanctioned by the club.

“All done,” he offered. “It was done and dusted the day it happened. It was nothing. It was just dragged on and on by everyone else.”

It certainly hasn’t been dull at West Ham this season, what with that, the difficult start to the campaign, the attempted armed robbery of Carroll as he drove away from training and the crowd trouble that has blighted the first few months of residency at their new digs.

“It doesn’t affect us, not at all,” he said of the stadium violence. 

“What was disappointing probably was the Chelsea (EFL Cup) game.

“We had a great performance and win but nobody spoke about that. It was all about the crowd, the violence, the police being involved, people being cut and all the arrests.

“It’s just teething problems and it’s going to take a while for everyone to get used to really. It doesn’t help with the start we’ve had, it makes everyone more upset.

“Once they find a way of policing it, of stewarding it, I’m sure it will be fine.”

Such words seem fitting from a goalkeeper whose job it is, after all, to provide reassurance and safety and Randolph has clearly earned O’Neill’s trust even if there have been times this last 13 months when he has appeared less than assured.

Still, the memories are overwhelmingly positive. He wasn’t interested in looking back at the games from Euro 2016 when he got home to family for a few days over the summer but he speaks at length about the innumerable little images from his time in France that can prompt a smile.

The appetite has been whetted and, with seven points from their opening three group games, a draw against Austria in Vienna this Saturday would put Ireland in a prime position to follow the Euros up with a place in Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

“Yeah it would put us in a good position. Again, having been in the position we were in, qualifying for the Euros, we know how quickly things can change. 

“If we can take points off teams that are going to be closer to us it’s obviously going to help us in the long run.”


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