Liverpool’s Irish goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher could be set for his first run of senior international games following an injury to normal number one Darren Randolph.
The 22-year-old has represented Ireland at all youth levels but has yet to break into the senior side, despite being called into the senior squad several times. That looks like it is about to change, after his impressive displays for the Reds first team has led for the calls for him to take the number one shirt for his national team.
Kelleher has made two Premier League appearances as well as two appearances in the Champions League, thoroughly impressing fans and Jürgen Klopp in the process. With this, he has officially taken over duties as Liverpool’s number two from previous incumbent Adrián.
Now having been called up once again by Irish manager Stephen Kenny, Kelleher should be the obvious choice. However, with the likes of Mark Travers of Bournemouth, Gavin Bazunu of Manchester City and Kieran O’Hara of Burton Albion all up for selection, he could have fight on his hands.
Kelleher’s recent Premier League and Champions League playing time will be a major plus to Kenny, who has a desperate lack of experience at his disposal in Randolph’s absence.
Travers, who conceded eight goals in three games while Bournemouth got relegated last season, has limited playing experience at the top level of the game.
And Bazunu may play for another Premier League side, but is yet to make an appearance for Manchester City, with Ederson, Zack Steffen and even veteran Scott Carson above him in the pecking order.
O’Hara on the other hand finds himself sat on the Burton bench, with limited game time as Ben Garratt is the consensus number one at the Pirelli Stadium.
The games in question aren’t just small encounters either. With World Cup qualification firmly at the forefront of the country’s minds, the pressure will be on for whoever is tasked to stop Serbia and Luxembourg from scoring.
The injury to Randolph could be exactly what Kelleher needs to make his stamp on the squad and potentially secure the starting spot for the remainder of the World Cup qualifying campaign. With Ireland failing to qualify for Euro 2020, games such as these are vital for the young man’s international future and development.
The man from Cork has a major opportunity to impress in this international break. Getting a foot in the door at such a young age could allow him to set the foundations for years to come and follow in the footsteps of Irish great Shay Given for his country.
Don’t miss a thing
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox. It’s free!