David Forde takes the optimistic route and is looking forward to getting a good result against Germany in Cologne
Having been beaten five times in a game against Bournemouth over the weekend, the Millwall goalkeeper is aware of the scale of the challenge that awaits the Republic of Ireland on Friday night
David Forde training with Republic of Ireland squad at Gannon Park, Malahide. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Having been beaten five times in a game against Bournemouth over the weekend, David Forde is acutely aware of the scale of the challenge that awaits the Republic of Ireland in Cologne on Friday night. Still, the 33-year-old is as anxious as ever to face the challenge at a time when nobody seems entirely convinced that Keiren Westwood is.
Westwood is said to require treatment on a shoulder problem this week and the absence of both the Sunderland goalkeeper, who played in the 6-1 defeat 12 months ago – when Forde was injured and watching on television from home – and the injured Darren Randolph all but ensures that the Galwayman will retain his place under Ireland’s interim manager, Noel King. However, he admits, nobody has said so yet.
He insists Saturday’s remarkable defeat – Millwall led 2-0 early on – will not be on his mind but then there’s plenty to keep him occupied, with a new manager, changed tactics and returning players all in the mix for a game against one of the best teams in the world.
“They’re modern day footballers,” he says of the Germans. “Pace, power, technically excellent. At the time (Ireland played them last year) they were a far superior side.”
Period of transition
It’s not clear what might have changed in the intervening months, and when Forde suggests that the Irish team’s problems were exacerbated that night by being in a period of transition, it’s harder still to see it as having involved any more upheaval than we are witnessing now.
Despite all of that, he says, the mood at training yesterday was upbeat, with nobody in the mood to go out and simply lie down in front of a team that provided almost half of the participants in last season’s Champions League final.
“They’re looking very impressive at the minute alright,” he acknowledges in relation to the Group C leaders. “You look at the Spain side down through the years and it looked very good but I think the German sides are going to give them a right good run for their money over the next few years because they’ve got some really exceptional talent coming through . . . we know it’s going to be difficult.
“But the Germans could get complacent and you know with Irish sides down the years . . . when we’ve been massive underdogs, you never know what could happen. That’s the beauty of it, why we all love football because you just don’t know what’s going to happen on the day.”
It doesn’t seem to be much of a basis for optimism really, but Forde insists that King, who he knows from his days in the League of Ireland, has been extremely positive about the possibility that the team can take something from the game.
“Yeah, we’re looking forward to getting a good result against Germany,” he says.
“It’s just disappointing really that we haven’t got to this stage while still in the competition. That’s unfortunate; it’s wasn’t to be but we’ll go again.”
That, he admits, will be a part of the motivation on Friday, with players already casting an eye on the next campaign and the shake up for places under a new, as yet, unidentified boss.
“Yeah, I’m sure whoever the next manager is will have his eyes fixed on the game; he’ll be watching intently for performances.”
The hope is that he enjoys what he sees more than Forde did this time last year.