Darren Randolph has spoken of his ‘excitement’ after agreeing to join West Ham United this summer.
The Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper will link up with the Hammers on 1 July, after his contract with Championship club Birmingham City has expired.
The 28-year-old has been a first-team regular with both Birmingham and former side Motherwell for the past five seasons, and is determined to push Adrian all the way for a starting place at the Boleyn Ground.
In his first interview with whufc.com, Randolph is looking forward to returning to the Boleyn Ground, ten years after making his top-flight debut as a teenager with Charlton Athletic.
“My initial reaction to joining West Ham is excitement,” said the Bray-born stopper. “It was a tough decision turning down Birmingham's offer of a new contract because of the second part of the season we had and the team we had built.
“They are a great group of lads and staff but I felt like I couldn't turn down the chance of joining a club like West Ham. Everybody wants to try and get to the top of their profession and I'm no different.”
For Randolph, who has totalled 289 senior club appearances during his career, signing for West Ham completes a journey back to the Barclays Premier League that included stops in Scotland and England’s second city.
Now, he wants to establish himself at the highest level, but knows dislodging the Hammers’ popular Spanish goalkeeper from the starting XI is going to be no easy task.
“I started at Charlton when I was 16 and left when I was 23,” he explained. “It has been a long journey to try get back to the Premier League and a great achievement to be able to do so. It is where players all around the world would like to be.
“I've played for the last five seasons so I would like to think I can come in and challenge for a place in the team. Adrian's had a fantastic season so it is going be tough, but it is a challenge I look forward to.”
Having signed for West Ham, Randolph is determined to enjoy being part of two historic seasons, bidding farewell to the Boleyn Ground before saying hello to the new Stadium in Stratford.
“It is definitely an exciting time to be part of West Ham with the changes coming up,” he confirmed. “So, hopefully we will have a memorable last season at Upton Park and then onto the Olympic Stadium to kick on again!”