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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Henderson's Hammers exit

Stephen Henderson
Stephen Henderson

IRISH goalkeeper Stephen Henderson (pictured) will today complete his move to Championship side Charlton Athletic after securing his exit from Premier League outfit West Ham.

And his fellow Irish netminder Darren Randolph could also make a switch, but on the international scene, as the Wicklow native says he has not ruled out the prospect of declaring for the USA.

Dubliner Henderson (26) joined the Hammers from Portsmouth two years ago and hoped to use the move to the Premier League to further his career and boost his international ambitions, but his time at Upton Park was largely frustrating.

Unable to dislodge Jussi Jaaskelainen initially, he was demoted to third-choice keeper last season with the emergence of Spanish keeper Adrian.

A promising loan spell with Bournemouth was ended due to a shoulder injury in October and he was sidelined for the season. Henderson had a year left on his West Ham contract but following talks with the club he has left by mutual consent, and Charlton are close to sealing a deal for the former Aston Villa man.

With Henderson's imminent move to Charlton and Keiren Westwood's decision to drop down to the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday having left Sunderland, just three senior Irish keepers will be on the books of Premier League clubs next season (Shay Given, Ian Lawlor and QPR's Brian Murphy).

Birmingham City keeper Darren Randolph is already on the radar of the national team having won two senior caps under Giovanni Trapattoni but Randolph has left open the possibility of defecting to the USA as his dad, Ed, is American and Darren has a US passport.

"I could still play for USA. I've got both passports and I think it is until you have played a competitive game and I have only played two friendlies - so it could still happen," says the Bray-born player, who cheered on Jurgen Klimsmann's side at the World Cup finals.

"That was my team for the World Cup with my dad being American and me having the dual citizenship.

"Obviously USA came first for me and after that I didn't really care. They did really well and surprised a lot of people."

Randolph missed Ireland's end-of-season games earlier this summer as he was not fully fit

"It wasn't ideal but to get through the games and help out the team has to be done. There were a lot of players getting injections and struggling through the last couple of months. I got the call up in the summer but I needed that time off to rest my shoulders," he says.

"As much as you want to play you don't want to be playing injured and not doing yourself justice.

"The manager has got a job to do and he wants to see players - it's a no win situation - it's tough."

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