Shay Given thinks that Ireland’s goalkeeping situation going into the Euro 2020 playoff is worrying.
Speaking on Thursday night’s Football Show, the former Ireland goalkeeper admitted that he is also worried about Darren Randolph not playing regularly for West Ham.
“Yes, [it is a worry],” Given said. “The other problem as well is that, Darren [Randolph] is now at West Ham and he’s not playing every week.
“That’s the other big issue for me. Darren’s been fantastic since he’s been in the team, but he’s been playing regularly since he’s been in the team for Middlesbrough.
“Now the concern for me is that he’s not playing.
“He’s still good enough, of course, not to play [for his club] and still play [for Ireland] - I get that. But for him to be at his best and for him to be sharpest, ideally he would be better off playing,” the Derby County goalkeeping coach said.
What was once a position of strength for Ireland, he is unsure of the quality that is coming through behind Randolph.
“And what have we got behind him? Westwood is not playing at Sheffield Wednesday, O’Hara is playing at Burton but there’s not loads coming through.
“There’s nowhere on the pitch where you’re going to be better if you’re not playing. If you’re playing regularly then you’re going to be better. There’s no way of getting away from it,” he said.
Given elaborated saying that any amount of training can’t replicate the in-game experience of knowing when you can and can't come for a ball.
“Also your decision making with through balls, it’s very hard to get that sort of training session and you can’t [hone] that decision-making process when you’re in a coaching session.
“The pressure is very difficult as you know, and in a playoff, there’s a whole different sort of stuff in the mix if he’s not playing.
“Of course now Darren is an experienced goalkeeper for club and country, he’s a calm and cool customer anyway so I don’t think he’ll be phased in that way,” Shay Given said.