Forever second choice: Time for Keiren Westwood to concentrate on Sheffield Wednesday and leave the Republic of Ireland behind

Keiren Westwood is behind Darren Randolf in the pecking order with the Republic of Ireland
Keiren Westwood is behind Darren Randolf in the pecking order with the Republic of Ireland
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The gloves that make so many saves have emblazoned upon them an Irish flag, pointing out the pride that Keiren Westwood has in representing his country.

It’s just a shame that he doesn’t get the opportunity to do so, when clearly deserving of a place.

Once again, on Sunday, the Sheffield Wednesday stopper and this season’s Owls Player of the Year, was left kicking his heels on the bench while Martin O’Neill put faith in Darren Randolph in goal for the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Austria.

Pundits and journalists across the sea had been expecting Westwood to be drafted in for the crucial tie in Dublin and there was a very strong argument for his inclusion.

For a start Randolph’s form for West Ham has been patchy at best this season.

He lost his place early in the campaign to Adrian, then after winning it back was dumped out again after a high profile error against Sunderland in April.

Republic of Ireland goalkeepers Keiren Westwood (right) and Darren Randolph

Republic of Ireland goalkeepers Keiren Westwood (right) and Darren Randolph

Following that, the 30 year old was culpable for the goal the Irish conceded in their friendly with Uruguay last week - a match in which Westwood came on at half time and performed well.

The Owls keeper has been his club’s most consistent performer since he arrived from Sunderland almost three years ago but in that time he was won just a handful of international caps.

Simply put, it appears as though O’Neill just doesn’t trust Westwood.

Yes, there have been a few occasions when he has pulled out of squads with a niggling injury, but those knocks appear to have dried up of late, yet O’Neill doesn’t seem to be able to forget that.

Keiren Westwood makes a save in the Republic of Ireland's friendly with Uruguay in Dublin. PIC: Press Association

Keiren Westwood makes a save in the Republic of Ireland's friendly with Uruguay in Dublin. PIC: Press Association

Being a part of the international scene may seem glamorous, but it can be far from enjoyable at times.

Travelling long distances, spending time away from your family, sitting around hotels.

Not, at least, having the carrot of a game at the end of it could be hugely demoralising.

Westwood delights in representing his country but if his face doesn’t fit, international football must surely become little more than a hassle. Perhaps he should now just concentrate on matters closer to home.