Randolph ready for Defoe duel

Darren Randolph


  • Darren Randolph relishing his first-ever duel with Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe
  • Goalkeeper hoping to make it two clean sheets in a row at Stadium of Light
  • Irishman also expressed condolences for Ireland teammate John O'Shea

Darren Randolph is relishing his first-ever duel with Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.

Despite both being senior professionals for more than a decade, the West Ham United goalkeeper has never shared a pitch with the England forward.

Defoe and Sunderland have not scored in their last seven Premier League matches, but Randolph is wary of the threat posed by the prolific 34-year-old.

“He’s a dangerous and clinical finisher, as he’s proved throughout his whole career,” the Hammers No1 observed of Defoe. “Any half-chance, he will take it, so that’s obviously what Sunderland look for.

“This will be the first time I’ve played against him in my career, believe it or not. I’ve played against teams he’s been involved in, but he’s never actually played as he’s been injured.

“We obviously need to limit his space and chances.”

Defoe is a dangerous and clinical finisher, as he’s proved throughout his whole career

Darren Randolph

Randolph and his teammates head for the Stadium of Light in good spirits after keeping their first clean sheet in 12 Premier League matches last weekend.

West Ham defeated struggling Swansea 1-0 at London Stadium thanks to a resilient defensive display, and the Irishman is hoping the Hammers can reproduce that form and extend Sunderland’s unwanted run of more than eleven hours without a Premier League goal.

The Black Cats have not hit the net since winning 4-0 at Crystal Palace on 4 February, but Randolph is still expecting to have work to do in the North East.

“It was our first clean sheet since Palace and it’s nice for everybody, not just me as the goalkeeper, because it means you have all put a shift in,” he said of the Swansea victory. “It’s good to get that clean sheet and win along with it.

Darren Randolph

“Sunderland will score eventually and it’s just a matter of when. Personally, I don’t care if they score on Saturday as long as we win, as that’s all that matters.

“If we can go there and put them under pressure and frustrate them and try to get ourselves ahead in the game, then clearly it will make it a lot easier for us.

“But they are scrapping for their own survival and it’s a home game for them, and they’re not looking at us as a Chelsea or a Tottenham or a Man United or Man City, but as a West Ham who are only a few places above them, so they might play with a bit more freedom than usual.

“Regardless, we’ll go there our own gameplan and try to execute that as best we can and get three points.”

Last but by no means least, Randolph also made a point of expressing his condolences to his long-time Republic of Ireland teammate John O’Shea, who sadly lost his father Jim earlier this month.

O’Shea is Ireand’s third-highest all-time appearance maker with 118 caps to his name, and Randolph has huge admiration for the defender he lined up alongside at UEFA Euro 2016 and in recent FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

“I heard the unfortunate news about John’s father and I extend my sympathies to him and his family at this time, and I hope I can see him on Saturday,” said Randolph. “John has got more than 100 caps for Ireland and won loads of trophies during his time at Man United, he’s a great player and a good guy.”