Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for their upcoming internationals.
Despite being dubbed ‘absolutely exceptional’ by Jurgen Klopp earlier in the season (LFC official website, via the42.ie), the 24-year-old has had to play second fiddle to Alisson Becker for the vast majority of his time at Anfield, often left reliant on domestic cup appearances or deputising when the Brazilian is unavailable.
To that effect, there have been reports in recent weeks that the Cork native could possibly depart Merseyside in the summer in search of regular club action elsewhere (GOAL).
However, Kelleher’s lack of game-time for Liverpool hasn’t prevented him from retaining his place in the Ireland squad, with Stephen Kenny including him in a 26-man roster for their friendly against Latvia next Wednesday and their opening Euro 2024 qualifier at home to France on 27 March (as per @IrelandFootball on Twitter).
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The goalkeeper’s inclusion in the Irish squad will come as a welcome boost for him, with his one and only Liverpool appearance so far in 2023 coming in the FA Cup third round replay against Wolves two months ago (Transfermarkt).
That was just his third senior outing of the season, and his 20th in total for the Reds (Transfermarkt), with Alisson proving impossible to displace and the first-choice stopper producing a couple of outstanding saves again in last night’s defeat to Real Madrid.
Despite rarely featuring for his club, though, Kelleher is regularly trusted at international level, having started seven of Ireland’s 10 matches last year (Transfermarkt).
His main competition for the shirt is Gavin Bazunu, who has been playing regularly for Southampton but managed only four clean sheets in 27 top-flight games for the south coast strugglers (Transfermarkt).
Usually when it comes to international breaks, Liverpool fans might be fearful of Reds players featuring heavily and incurring injuries.
However, with the 24-year-old stopper sitting idle for much of the year so far, it’d be most welcome to see him being selected in at least one of Kenny’s starting line-ups over the next fortnight, and it would be a ringing endorsement if he’s selected to face Kylian Mbappe and co in Dublin in 11 days’ time.
You can see the latest Ireland squad in full below, courtesy of @IrelandFootball on Twitter:
SQUAD | Kenny names 26-man squad for Latvia & France
Mikey Johnston receives first call-up whilst @NorwichCityFC duo Andrew Omobamidele & Adam Idah return to the squad for the first time since 2021
Roll on next week 🤩
22/03 | 🇮🇪🆚🇱🇻 | 7.45pm
27/03 | 🇮🇪🆚🇫🇷 | 7.45pm pic.twitter.com/jenfquoDjG
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) March 16, 2023
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