David Forde will be mulling over a possible move to Germany as he heads back to his adopted home of London tomorrow with the Republic of Ireland squad.
The 34-year-old, who is out of contract with Millwall but still talking to the club about the possibility of a new deal, has offers from other British sides including a couple from the Premier League. However, he is tempted by the thought of a move abroad.
“It certainly would do,” said the Galwayman, who denied he is thinking of this as his last big payday. However, he must be keenly aware that they are unlikely to get much bigger as he moves into his late 30s.
“I’d have no problem moving. It’s still in the mix; an option. I’ve got to weigh up the best options for me and my family. At the end of the day, that’s all that counts,” he said.
A big game at Craven Cottage Saturday night would send out a timely reminder of what he can do just as his full debut, also against Italy three years ago, belatedly established him as a goalkeeping force. "It's been a phenomenal journey," he said of the time since. "When I look back to that [he played well, kept a clean sheet and was a key figure in an unlikely Irish victory], moment, I suppose it was a game changer in my career.
“For someone like Trapattoni to come along and give me my first cap, play me and then give me the shirt in the
World Cup qualifiers
, it was a big, big confidence boost.”
Forde benefited, of course, from Shay Given’s initial retirement and subsequent decision not to walk out on a lucrative, long-term contract at Aston Villa in the search for first-team football. Keiren Westwood’s injury and problems at club level have played their part too but ultimately the former Galway United and Derry City player has made his own luck, coming through some tough times in his own career then grasping the opportunity when it mattered. “It’s all a question of timing,” he acknowledged.
“Timing and perseverance. I’ve been lucky enough in stuff, kept my head down and kept going. And I’ve been fortunate now to have had a fantastic three years involved with Ireland.”
After an especially difficult year at the Stadium of Light, Westwood looks a more distant number two than ever just now and none of the other pretenders seem particularly close to displacing him.
With Darren Randolph missing at the moment as well, Rob Elliot has enhanced his prospects with the devotion to the cause he has shown this week.
“Fair play to Rob,” said Forde, “he’s shown his commitment. He’s a lovely lad. It’s certainly been a fantastic week for him. To get your first cap and to get married . . . you won’t have many better weeks than that.”
, the big Dubliner whose progress to date at Manchester City certainly seems to suggest he can make major waves over the years ahead, the Millwall man has been impressed with what he has seen so far.
“I think he’s fantastic. He’s been in two days and I haven’t had a long time to see him but I think he’s got a real good opportunity,” said Forde.
“He’s all the attributes, size and everything else; he’s got the mentality as well. He’s a lovely kid. It’s great for him, coming in to train with your national side. But it’s one thing having potential, I was similar myself at his age; it’s fulfilling it. And I can see him doing it myself.”
The shuffling in the queue behind him continues then but having taken so long to reach the front himself, he won’t be going on without a bit of a scrap. “Certainly not,” he said.
“I’ll give it a good fight. I’m enjoying it, I love being involved; I was long enough waiting for it. I suppose I’ve always been a late starter so I’ll be a late finisher.”
Just how late he can continue to impress the new manager only time will tell, but Forde acknowledges that these are important weeks for everyone in the squad.
“It’s a vital time,” he said. “It’s probably the longest time we’ve had with the management and their ideas, how they want to play, how they should be played and it’s a great platform, a great base.
“We were unfortunate on Sunday we had plenty of chances, we could have been 3-0 up but goals change games – it was similar against Serbia – and we’ve come off with two losses. That hurts. We’ve got to get that mentality: if we don’t win, we don’t get beat.”