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Caoimhin Kelleher suffers Ireland blow; in line for season debut this week

Caoimhin Kelleher suffered a blow with Ireland this week after his manager dropped him. Things could turn around quickly, however.

Caoimhin Kelleher isn’t currently playing for Ireland. He’s available for their squad but the 22-year-old currently sits behind Gavin Bazunu.

Bazunu is playing well for Ireland but he plays his club football for Portsmouth in League One – two tiers below Liverpool. Why is it, then, that he gets the nod of Kelleher?

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny explained his reasoning this week.

“It’s a tight decision,” said Kenny, per the Irish Mirror. “I regard Caoimhin Kelleher so highly as he’s an exceptional goalkeeper but it’s just that he’s not playing.”

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It’s a completely justifiable reason, to be fair. Yes, Kelleher plays at a much higher level but he rarely actually features. The 22-year-old is second in Liverpool’s pecking order but some way behind Alisson Becker.

If he wants a spot as Ireland’s no.1, he’s going to have to shine in competitive games. That’s obviously quite difficult when the world’s best goalkeeper is in your way, though.

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However, Kelleher may get his chance this weekend. It appears that Alisson won’t be available after FIFA suspended Brazilian Premier League players following a dispute.

Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

That puts the Irishman in line for Liverpool’s spot in goal against Leeds United on Sunday. We’d certainly expect him to start the game ahead of Adrian.

And as we saw last season, Kelleher has the ability to impress even without proper rhythm. Alisson’s injury in 2020 thrust the youngster into senior Liverpool games with great results.

Kelleher looked at home both in the Premier League and Champions League. We’d expect him to perform well at Elland Road, too.

And perhaps that’s enough to at least get him back in the reckoning for the Ireland place. Unfortunately, he’ll need to find a way to get games consistently if he’s to hold their no.1 shirt down.

One game against Leeds is unlikely to be enough.

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