Saturday 25 January 2020

Gypsy James deserves his chance: McCarthy

FORM: Bohs’ James Talbot. Pic: Sportsfile
FORM: Bohs’ James Talbot. Pic: Sportsfile

Bohemians man James Talbot has earned his call-up to the Ireland senior squad this week as he is the stand-out player in the domestic league, according to Ireland boss Mick McCarthy.

And the Ireland boss added that he won't try to protect his No 1 Darren Randolph from injury by leaving him out for a training game against the Irish U21 side today.

Talbot (22) is an unexpected presence in the senior squad after just months of first-team football with Bohs, that form with the Gypsies coming after a spell where the Finglas lad had stopped playing soccer upon his exit from Sunderland last year to focus on a GAA career, with Ballymun Kickhams.

In his previous spell as Ireland boss, McCarthy had an embarrassment of riches when it came to picking a goalkeeper: there was not even room on the bench for Shay Given at the start of the 2002 World Cup campaign where he was in the stand, third choice behind Alan Kelly and Dean Kiely.

Keiren Westwood and Mark Travers are out due to injury but McCarthy resisted the temptation to call in more experienced keepers like Hearts man Colin Doyle or Rob Elliot and go with the uncapped Sean McDermott and Talbot as back-up.

Talbot trained with the senior squad yesterday but will be left out for today's game against the U21s, McCarthy mindful that Bohs need Talbot to play in a league match at home to Finn Harps tomorrow.

However, as the Gypsies' following game, against UCD, has been called off due to U21 call-ups, Talbot is free to train with the senior squad next week and travel to Denmark for that Euro 2020 tie. And he is there on merit, McCarthy stressed, after positive feedback from one of his scouts here.

"I'd had a report about James from one of my lads who used to work for me," McCarthy says.

"He said - not my words, his words - that he'd not seen any outfield players who would make us any better, but he did mention James Talbot.

"Some of them have to have a chance at some stage, haven't they? Rob Elliot, I don't think he has played any football. I could bring him in for his experience, but he's not played a game - I'd sooner have someone who has played."

Randolph got his chance at senior level when Shay Given suffered an injury in the first half of the Euro 2016 qualifier against Germany and there is a concern that a knock for Randolph in this behind-closed-doors match today would leave McCarthy with only uncapped, inexperienced keepers for the trip to Denmark next week.

"Darren has to train, I can't just wrap him up in cotton wool until we play, he wouldn't be ready to play," said McCarthy.

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