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West Ham keeper is revelling as the new number one

13:30 29 November 2016

West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph claims the ball at the feet of Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (left) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford,

West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph claims the ball at the feet of Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (left) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford,

PA Archive/PA Images

Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph is showing what he can do between the posts

Darren Randolph shares a joke with a supporter at the Any Old Irons event (pic whufc.com)Darren Randolph shares a joke with a supporter at the Any Old Irons event (pic whufc.com)

West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph came out of the dressing room after the game studying a list of messages on his phone. He deserved every one of them after a man-of-the-match display earned a point at Old Trafford.

The 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international had played well at Tottenham a week earlier only to end up on the losing side, but was at his best to deny the United front line.

“We played well last week, but not for the whole game,” said Randolph looking up from his phone.

“We took plenty of positives from that game, though, and we knew that if we could play like that again we could get something from this game.

West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph checks on injured team-mate Pedro Obiang during their Premier League match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane (pic PA)West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph checks on injured team-mate Pedro Obiang during their Premier League match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane (pic PA)

“It was important to get in front. It gave them something to think about and ideally that is the way you want to go about it.”

That early Diafra Sakho lead did not last that long as Zlatan Ibrahimovic got away from James Collins to head in the equaliser, but perhaps the pivotal moment came later in that first half when Marcus Rashford was put clean through with just the West Ham keeper to beat.

So what was going through Randolph’s mind when the England youngster was sprinting towards him? He thinks for a moment and a little grin comes on to his face.

“To be honest, in my head I’m just thinking ‘save, save, save’.” laughed the Hammers keeper.

West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph appears dejecetd after the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League - Play Off match at the London Stadium, London.West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph appears dejecetd after the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League - Play Off match at the London Stadium, London.

“I stuck my right leg out and stopped it and I think it was right at me almost.”

It wasn’t, it was a fine save and he made more after the break, including a full-length stop from Paul Pogba.

“Unless they have an off-day, everyone who comes here is going to have defending to do,” he said. “The defence got some tackles and blocks in at the right time and I got the luck I needed to keep them out. I was in the right place at the right time.”

Randolph kept his cool under pressure, so what was his best save on the day?

“I couldn’t pick one I like best,” he said. “I like all saves and it helped us to get a point.”

It was a bold move by manager Slaven Bilic to replace first-choice keeper Adrian with the Irishman, but it has proved a masterstroke. So how does Randolph feel things have been going?

“I have got games, so all I can do is perform,” he said. “As long as I keep doing that, I don’t need to worry about the rest of it, I just need to show what I can do.”

He has certainly done that and though West Ham have only managed one point out of six with him in the team, Randolph thinks better times are just around the corner, adding: “We need to show this character to get us up the table and away from this position we find ourselves in.

“Performances like this one and the first half against Spurs give us the confidence and belief. We are a good team, I see it every day in training. It’s getting it on to the pitch and being able to kill teams off when we have the chance.”

Randolph returned to those messages of congratulations with a satisfied smile and he will look for a repeat display at Old Trafford in the League Cup tonight (Wednesday).

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