Stephen Kenny wants Gavin Bazunu to gain experience with crowds
Stephen Kenny wants young Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu to experience battle in a hostile atmosphere as he tries to prepare him for the World Cup qualifiers in September.
The Manchester City goalkeeper, 19, who spent last season on loan at League One Rochdale, made his senior debut for his country in the March World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg with number one Darren Randolph and Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher injured, and has retained his place ever since.
However, when asked if the uncapped 22-year-old Kelleher would have a chance in Tuesday night’s friendly against Hungary in front of a partisan crowd at Budapest’s Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Kenny admitted he had a great decision to be made.
He said, “I am Caoimhin’s biggest fan. He has played 10 times for the Under-21 team. If he had been fit in March he would have started, it’s fair to say, for qualifying.
“Gavin Bazunu has arrived and has been absolutely excellent. Sometimes you take a chance.
“I’m aware of that, but I wish Gavin had some time in front of a crowd, a passionate crowd before our next game – Portugal away – because he hasn’t played in front of a whole crowd. year.
“At the club level, it wasn’t crowded, so I would like him to experience it. I would like Caoimhin to have playing time too, I can’t wait to do that too.
Bazunu won his third senior cap – and tasted victory for the first time – in Thursday night’s 4-1 win in Andorra behind a defense staged by Sheffield United defender John Egan, who was hugely unimpressed. only by the teenager, but also by Kelleher and Mark Travers, 22-year-old Bournemouth goalkeeper.
Egan said: “After training with him last week you can really see how good he is. But for the three keepers, to be honest, Caoimhin and Trav as well, there is very strong competition there.
“Gav, for someone so young to play in this particular position – it’s probably the most scrutinized position on a soccer field – it’s fantastic to see their poise and ability. You don’t. wouldn’t be engaged at Manchester City if you didn’t have the capacity.
“He is a young high-level goalkeeper and a top-notch young talent. I hope he can continue to improve and the sky is the limit for Gav, really.
Bazunu is one of a series of young players who Kenny gave his chance, 19-year-old Tottenham forward Troy Parrott also drew attention with two goals against Andorra, and Egan admits they handled the game admirably. step pressure up.
He said: “It’s kind of mind blowing because people have to realize how old these guys are. They are so young. To play at this level at this age is unreal.
“They just have to try to relieve themselves somehow. With social media these days, they probably can’t do without it, so it’s difficult. But the age of all the guys coming in, all the young people, it’s fantastic for Ireland, it’s exciting.