Redmayne unhappy with lack of game opportunities for young goalkeepers

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The A-League Men (ALM) journeyman has compared the pitfalls of his own career with the situation faced by many young bench-ridden goalkeepers including teammate Tom Heward-Belle.

Of the 10 ALM goalkeepers who started for their respective teams in round 17 last week, only three were under the age of 28. The staggering amount of veteran players currently taking up starting positions in the competition has subsequently kept a number of young goalkeeping talents sidelined across the league.

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For Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, however, this was an issue which is all too familiar to him.

The 33-year-old has compared the troubles currently faced by young goalkeepers, including Sky Blues teammate Heward-Belle, to his own tumultuous career spanning almost two decades and five ALM clubs.

Heward-Belle impressed so much in his four consecutive starts for the Sky Blues this season that he even managed to keep Redmayne out for two of them. However, this was only for the veteran to eventually reclaim his position following his return from international duty in January.

“There are traps in the system where boys kind of fall into and get a bit lost,” he said.

“I’ve been in Tommy’s shoes. I have been a number two at numerous clubs not playing and sitting on the bench every week. It’s hard.”

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The fight for winning the starting position between the sticks is one that has followed Redmayne almost everywhere in his storied career. From his beginnings at home town club Central Coast Mariners right up until his current tenure with Sydney FC and his occupancy in the Socceroos squad.

In his first four seasons of ALM football, Redmayne started a total of just five matches after he was kept out of the Mariners and Brisbane Roar starting 11 by veterans Mark Bosnich and Michael Theo respectively.

He was sidelined once again when Danny Vukovic stood in his way upon his arrival at the Sky Blues and remains a back-up option in the national team to captain Maty Ryan.

Despite having made just two international starting appearances since his debut in 2019, Redmayne insists that he has no qualms about his position in the Socceroos squad alongside Ryan and his former teammate Vukovic.

“I’m under no illusions about where I stand in the pecking order. I honestly relish every opportunity I get to be apart of the national team,” he said.

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Redmayne also spoke fondly about the beginnings of his relationship with the Real Sociedad goalkeeper and his childhood friend, Ryan, as well as the man who fostered the development of the entire Socceroos goalkeeping trio.

“We’ve got quite a strong union under the common brand of John Crawley, who coached all of us from a young age,” he said.

“But I’ve known Maty since he was at Blacktown (City). He was maybe 14 and I would have been on my red P’s.

“And I know how highly John Crawley spoke of him even at that very young age when he was working with him there at Blacktown, so we all go back quite a long way.”

It was also around this time in the Sydney goalkeeper’s life when he was notoriously offered a contract at Arsenal FC, only for it to be withdrawn in favour of their eventual first-team goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

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Despite being ever so close to signing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and being cast aside yet again as a goalkeeper, Redmayne insists that the setback did not deter his confidence from the outset of his playing career.

“I don’t think it did,” he said.

“I was probably too young and too naive to even understand what it was all about.

“I think as a sheltered child that grew up on the Central Coast, I mean, sheltered in a football sense, and being so close to (signing for) a club like Arsenal, it would have been too much of a drop in the deep end.”

Nonetheless, Redmayne has spent the entirety of his playing days in Australia, albeit, by choice he claims.

“I am my biggest critic, but my form early in my career probably wouldn’t have warranted a move overseas anyway,” he said.

“I’d love to have had the opportunity (to go overseas), but nothing’s really risen around the right time.

“I think now it’s having a family, having a kid and kind of getting a bit older which would oppose a move away from Australia.”

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Now after 14 seasons in the ALM and seeing the league’s subsequent development first-hand, Redmayne remains content with his life down under in fostering the growth of fellow goalkeepers such as Heward-Belle, despite being unfortunate and bench-ridden many times himself throughout his career.

“I think that the professionalism and the standard of football as vastly higher now than it once was,” he said.

“I know there’s a mentoring role that I’ve been in as a senior goalkeeper in Australia in bringing up young talent, so as one for an advocate in the game in Australia and one that wants to see it prosper, I’m more than happy to stay and help out.”

Feature Image Credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Jimmy Alexander
Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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