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Gavin Bazunu "100%" aiming to become Man City's first-choice goalkeeper

Gavin Bazunu
© Reuters
The 19-year-old spent last season on loan at Rochdale.

Teenage goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has his sights set firmly on the number one spot at Manchester City.

The 19-year-old spent last season on loan at Rochdale, a campaign during which he experienced both the joy of making his senior international debut for the Republic of Ireland and the bitter disappointment of relegation from League One.

But as he looked on from afar as his parent club powered its way to a Premier League and Carabao Cup double and fell at the final hurdle in the Champions League, his long-term aim remained unchanged.

Asked if he hoped to be City's first-choice keeper one day, he replied: "Yes, of course. That's 100 per cent my aim. I wouldn't have gone to Manchester City unless I thought I could be the number one goalkeeper.

"Every day, that's what I work towards. That's the goal."

To that end, Bazunu, who is currently on international duty with Ireland, maintained regular contact with City's head of goalkeeping, Xabier Mancisidor, during his spell at the Crown Oil Arena as he targets the elevated status of Ederson and understudy Zack Steffen.

He said: "I speak to Xabi, who is the goalkeeper coach there. I spoke to him today, actually, and I like to keep in contact with him.

"During the season, I speak to him once or twice a week and we go over the clips from previous matches and he gives me an insight on what he thinks I can improve on.

"Initially the plan was that I would go in and train with them once or twice a week but because of Covid and all the restrictions that wasn't possible."

In the short term, Bazunu will hope to continue his education at international level in Tuesday night's friendly against Hungary in Budapest having been thrust into the senior ranks for March's World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg in the absence of injured number one Darren Randolph and kept his place since.

His debut ended in disappointment as Ireland slipped to an embarrassing 1-0 defeat in Dublin, but he took the occasion in his stride despite his tender years.

He said: "I was nervous before the first game, but I didn't feel any pressure. Obviously I wanted to do well for myself and the team, but at the end of the day, I'm just out there doing my job like in any other game and I just go out there and try to enjoy it as much as I can."

Bazunu, who turned 19 in February is the youngest keeper ever to play senior football for the Republic, replacing Shay Given, who won his first cap a month before his 18th birthday.

Given, of course, went on to represent the Republic 134 times and following in his footsteps is another daunting challenge.

Bazunu said: "Growing up, Shay and Darren would have been my massive idols, watching them play for Ireland, and that's my goal, to try and follow in their footsteps."

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United StatesUnited States1010929
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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