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01st Jun 2024

Caoimhin Kelleher thinks “time is right” to step out of Alisson’s shadow

Ronan Calvert

Caoimhin Kelleher Liverpool

Caoimhin Kelleher is ready to become a number one.

Ireland goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has more than served his apprenticeship as Liverpool‘s back-up goalkeeper and the Corkman is now ready to become somebody’s number one.

A string of games in the Reds’ net gave the 25-year-old more than a taste of regular football at the elite level last season, but he knows he is unlikely to ever replace the extraordinary Alisson Becker for good.

Kelleher has developed excellently at Merseyside since joining from Ringmahon Rovers as a fifteen-year-old, not only learning from Alisson, but also training against elite attackers and benefiting from the leadership of Jurgen Klopp.

While the “play as many games as possible” cliché is often levelled at young players, Kelleher took a different route, and his career management will be retrospectively praised if he secures a big move this summer.

Speaking to the Irish press ahead of Tuesday’s Republic of Ireland international friendly against Hungary, Kelleher explained how he and Liverpool clubmates always knew the extent of his ability.

But, after a move away from the club failed to materialise last summer, the season just gone became a chance to show the rest of the world what he’s made of.

“There was never any internal doubt from myself,” he said of his experience over the last few seasons.

“I think anyone at Liverpool would be the same; it was moreso me getting the opportunity to prove to everyone else that I’m good enough to play at this level.

“My main objective was showing others what I could do.”


Now held in high esteem across Europe, Kelleher is “open to all options” and one would think he will have plenty of them this summer.

A 26-game campaign saw him produce some of his best football to date, so a full season of match-sharp displays elsewhere could see him take his game to another level again.

“It’s very difficult in the goalkeeping position where a lot of it is relying on decisions and game sharpness so it was nice to start so many games. I was always waiting for that opportunity,” he continued.

“Clubs will have been looking as well and seen me play so there’ll hopefully be some interest elsewhere.

“That’s given me a lot of confidence and I think that the time is right now.”

With Gavin Bazunu sidelined, Kelleher is set to start Ireland’s match against Hungary next week.

He has never truly made the Irish jersey his own, but first-choice outings under the Premier League spotlight could soon be reflected on the international stage.

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