Stephen Kenny makes Caoimhin Kelleher decision ahead of Belgium clash 3 months ago

Stephen Kenny makes Caoimhin Kelleher decision ahead of Belgium clash

"Caoimhin will definitely start, that's absolutely right, for sure."

Stephen Kenny has announced that Caoimhin Kelleher will start in goal for the Republic of Ireland in their friendly matches against Belgium and Lithuania over the next few days.

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The Liverpool goalkeeper has been given the opportunity due to injury withdrawals from Gavin Bazunu and Mark Travers earlier this week, and because of his excellent form for Jurgen Klopp's team.

Kelleher helped Liverpool win the EFL Cup last month and has proven a more than capable deputy to Allison Becker at Anfield. In eight games this season in the EFL Cup and the Champions League, the 23-year-old has kept four clean sheets.

Caoimhin Kelleher

Stephen Kenny announces Caoimhin Kelleher as Irelands starting goalkeeper.

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Speaking to the assembled media on Friday, Kenny said that Kelleher will start against Belgium on Saturday and in the friendly against Lithuania on Tuesday. Both matches will be played at the Aviva Stadium.

The former Dundalk boss also spoke about the Liverpool goalkeeper's qualities and pinpointed the Corkman's composure and athleticism as the most impressive aspects of his game.

The 50-year-old credited Liverpool with the development of Kelleher, who has played for the club in cup competitions this season.

Caoimhin Kelleher

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"Caoimhin will definitely start, that's absolutely right, for sure. He'll most likely play the two matches now, I think it's fair to say," Kenny told reporters.

"He has all-round qualities, really. His composure under pressure and his general athleticism, his ability to male brilliant saves."

"But obviously he's been in a great environment at Liverpool for a few years now and training every day at a very high standard and playing in the games that he's played in, so he's got good experience."

Caoimhin Kelleher

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Kenny praises Kelleher ahead of Ireland's friendlies.

Kenny also gave Kelleher credit for Ireland's clean sheet streak, as the goalkeeper played in the 4-0 win over Qatar last October.

The Liverpool shot-stopper has yet to concede a goal in his two Ireland senior caps.

"We're on a run of four and a half games now consecutively without conceding a goal, and Caoimhin has played his part in that because he played against Qatar," said Kenny.

"In Caoimhin's two matches to date against Qatar and Hungary. He hasn't conceded a goal either, so he deserves his chance because he's been absolutely excellent."

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Caoimhin Kelleher

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