Andrew Redmayne, Australia's unexpected hero / CDM 22 / Play-offs / Australia-Peru (0-0, 5-4 TAB) / SOFOOT.com

Andrew Redmayne, Australia’s unexpected hero / CDM 22 / Play-offs / Australia-Peru (0-0, 5-4 TAB) / SOFOOT.com

Thanks to its victory on penalties against Peru on Monday evening (0-0, 5-4 TAB), Australia will play the sixth World Cup in its history next November. A qualification acquired thanks to the one who was nevertheless warmly installed on the bench at the start and who should have stayed there: goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne. A real feat for someone who had everything but the face of the job.

You had to see him dancing on his line like Guignol, this totally disjointed puppet. With the difference that Andrew Redmayne would rather have been handled by a vulgar amateur than by a specialist in the genre. And above all, more importantly, he did not make anyone laugh this Monday evening. Especially not the Peruvians, excluded from the next World Cup thanks to a stoppage by the Australian goalkeeper on Alex Valera’s final shot on goal. However, nothing predestined the man who took his place on the bench at the start of this game to become Tim Cahill’s successor in the hearts of the Australians.

Dance with the shooters

As the final seconds of extra time slowly slipped away on the scoreboard, Graham Arnold was forced to bring in Craig Goodwin in place of the injured Aziz Behich. Nothing very surprising so far, except that in the process, the coach of the Aussies then places actions on his words. “Peruvians will be surprised” , he had indicated the day before at a press conference, referring rather to the technical quality of his team. Mathew Ryan, his captain, also had to blink to make sure that it was indeed his number that the fourth referee was displaying on his light panel. In his place, the former Sydney United player launches Andrew Redmayne. If Louis van Gaal had launched Tim Krul under the same conditions in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup against Costa Rica, it was because the Newcastle goalkeeper had solid statistics from the penalty spot. Quite the opposite of his Australian counterpart, who had only stopped 4 small attempts out of the 31 he had to face. However, 12 shots on goal later and after tirelessly making the Peruvian shooters dance, the newcomer seems totally lost when going to celebrate and ends up finding himself planted on the ground, his mouth wide open before ending up buried under his partners. euphoric.

A wait as long as his beard

A great reward for a player who does not hesitate to put the interests of others before his own. Thus, in March, he did not hesitate to denounce the lack of confidence faced by young goalkeepers in Australia: “There are traps in the system that boys fall into and get a bit lost in. » Moreover, the one who sports a beard that would make more than one beardless jealous even evokes the situation of his teammate Tom Heward-Belle: “I was in Tommy’s shoes. I’ve been a number two at many clubs, not playing and sitting on the bench every week. It’s hard. » And yet, he had even known worse. In 2005, then aged 16, he set out to conquer Europe with the New South Wales Institute of Sport (a high-level training institute located in Australia). During a meeting against Arsenal, he caught the eye of recruiters from Gunners and is offered the opportunity to join England. A few days later, those still playing at Highbury back down as the Gosford native plans his move: “They answered me saying: “We have just signed a young goalkeeper and we cannot have nine goalkeepers for three teams, so your services are no longer needed.” » The guardian in question? A young Pole by the sweet name of Wojciech Szczęsny. Seventeen years later, Redmayne never left the local championship and had to wait until 2017 and a transfer to Sydney FC to finally be established as an indisputable club starter, at 28.

In selection, he is still waiting for his chance. “I have no illusions about my position in the hierarchy. Honestly, I relish every opportunity I get to be part of the national team” , he admitted recently. And the opportunity finally presented itself for the one who turns out to be a little secretive.

The perfect plan

“It was a plan that was launched six weeks ago. I probably didn’t think it would end like this, but the longer camp went on, the more comfortable I felt.confesses the hero. John Crawley (goalkeeping coach) explained this theory to me and said: “Prepare for this.” I always had this idea in mind for the game against the United Arab Emirates, it was kind of planned between the staff and me. » Even his fellow holder in goal and captain of the team, Mathew Ryan, had not been informed of this tactical bet that his coach is about to attempt. “I don’t think my team-mates knew about it, but I think a few of them must have had their doubts at half-time. (of extension) when I did some warm-up exercises” reveals Redmayne.

Before continuing: “It’s a surprise for the Peruvians in the sense that they prepared all week thinking Maty Ryan was going to be in goal, and then setting me up threw them off a bit. » Especially since the 33-year-old bearded man kept gesticulating in goal, indicating that he was ready to “earn a percent or two by doing something stupid and (to)ridiculing. » In the end, only one save was enough, the most important of his career, Luis Advíncula having previously stumbled on the amount. While a few weeks ago, he solemnly launched a call for the young Australian goalkeepers to benefit from more playing time in the league, here he is now, at 33 years old and three selections, firmly installed in the group which will go in Qatar next November.

By Florian Porta

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