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Darren's move major topic for national debate

Moyes' decision on Hammers' keeper could play vital role in Irish Euro 2020 bid

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Darren Randolph

Darren Randolph

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Darren Randolph

As a player, Mick McCarthy didn't just change clubs for the sake of his international career, he moved to a different country.

And to turn around Ian Paisley's famous phrase about this island, McCarthy actually did forsake the blue skies of France for the grey mists of a London winter when he chose to leave his position as a well-paid (but unwanted) Olympique Lyon player for a loan spell at Millwall six months before the 1990 World Cup finals.

"I thought Jack Charlton would probably take me no matter what happened, but I didn't want to go to Italy for the ride," he recalled in his Captain Fantastic memoir, having lost his place in the Lyon side.

"I had to start playing again and if that meant a move, so be it.

"On the drive from Heathrow to Millwall it was grey and raining, and I wondered why I wanted to leave a beautiful place like Lyon for this."

The 'why' came with the weekly diet at Millwall of game-time which he'd been denied in France, and he captained the Irish side to the last eight at the World Cup finals.

McCarthy can only hope that, 30 years on, a decision to move clubs in January can have a positive impact on his own plans as manager of the national side.

Darren Randolph is today part of the West Ham squad for their game against Everton, having finally completed the long-drawn out move from Middlesbrough.

West Ham have spent money on bringing the player back to London, and no doubt David Moyes poured honeyed words into his ear to persuade him to come.

The doubling of his weekly salary that comes with a Premier League move would have sweetened the deal for Randolph.

That deal may have included the chance to play first-team football, but not a guarantee.

Some West Ham fans are less than enthusiastic about the deal: having seen the return of a manager (Moyes) who was deemed not good enough by the club two years ago, they have re-signed a keeper who was allowed leave... also two years ago.

Add in the fact that Randolph has played just one club game in the last 10 weeks due to injury and it's clear why his arrival has been greeted with scepticism, not enthusiasm.

Middlesbrough, who have been able to call on Randolph in just one game since he played, with a thigh strain, in the 1-1 draw with Denmark last year, didn't put up a fight to keep him.

Having banked £4m from the sale, they spent just £1m on a replacement, Dejan Stojanovic.

A good deal for Boro, a nice earner for Randolph's agent, but it remains to be seen if the move is good for Randolph and Ireland.

"Darren is as fit as we can get him," was the less-than-convincing comment from Moyes on Thursday.

"He's been doing all the work he's had to do and hopefully he'll be ready for the weekend. At the moment we've got three goalkeepers to choose between and he's in that for the weekend."

If Randolph plays today, and for the next few weeks, it will ease McCarthy's worries.

But with issues already there over two key players, notably the lack of game time for Shane Duffy at Brighton and the fact that Glenn Whelan is without a club, a spell on the bench for Randolph would add to McCarthy's worry lines.

The form of James McClean at Stoke is a positive, as is Shane Long's revival at Southampton, and Robbie Brady's return from injury with Burnley this weekend is also good news.

But the sight of Randolph sitting on the West Ham bench for weeks on end would only remind McCarthy of those grey London skies.

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