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Wenger says Arsenal "made a mistake" not signing second-string Sydney keeper

Soccer

Arsene Wenger doesn't remember the two-week period 12 years ago when a teenage Andrew Redmayne trialled with Arsenal.

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But after watching the Sydney FC reserve goalkeeper’s performance against his English Premier League side, he’s got one thing clear.

“If he was with us, we made a mistake,” Wenger said.

“At the end of the day I would say their goalkeeper was man of the match.”

Redmayne took his game to a new level in Sydney’s 2-0 loss to the Gunners last night.

The 28-year-old made a string of stellar saves, even repelling Danny Welbeck from the penalty spot, in a sign he’s very much pressing for the first-choice spot Danny Vukovic left vacant.

Andrew Redmayne saves a shot at goal by Olivier Giroud. Photo: Paul Miller / AAP

Perhaps fittingly, Redmayne delivered the finest display of his career against the very team he’d come so close to joining.

Then 16, he trialled at Highbury for a fortnight and nearly had pen to paper when the club decided to sign a 15-year-old Wojciech Szczesny instead.

Redmayne, who remains a Gunners fan despite the let-down, could hardly believe what he was hearing when told Wenger had singled him out for praise.

“I guess it’s pretty exciting,” Redmayne said.

“But it’s always good to play well in the first game of the year, and I’m sure I can build on that and get on a roll.”

Redmayne’s A-League career has been something of a rollercoaster, playing hardly at all for Central Coast and Brisbane before cementing and then losing his No.1 place at both Melbourne City and, in the first half of last season, Western Sydney.

He puts his current form down to a reunion with his first goalkeeping coach, John Crawley, and a welcoming Sky Blues set-up that makes him feel more comfortable than at any previous clubs.

Coach Graham Arnold is already on the hunt for a gloveman to replace Belgium-bound Vukovic, but made a point of silencing Redmayne’s critics.

“I’ve always had a lot of faith in Andrew Redmayne,” Arnold said.

“I think he’s copped a bit of harsh criticism over the last couple of years but two years ago he helped the Wanderers to a grand final as No.1 ‘keeper.”

It took Alexandre Lacazette just 15 minutes to justify his $79 million price tag, scoring on debut for Arsenal’s as they dominated the reigning A-League champions. The Gunners dominated from whistle to whistle at a packed ANZ Stadium, but only had a couple of goals to show for it.

One reason was weak finishing, an issue club-record signing Lacazette promptly resolved in the 83rd minute with a run timed to perfection, much to the delight of the 80,432 fans.

But the other was the brilliant display of Sydney’s unlikely new cult figure, who pressed his case for a starting spot this season.

-AAP

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