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David Forde 'not worried' by fight for No 1 with O'Neill old boy Westwood

The Millwall keeper wants to hang on to the keeper’s shirt.

Goalkeeper David Forde earned praise for display against Germany, despite the result.
Goalkeeper David Forde earned praise for display against Germany, despite the result.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

DAVID FORDE INSISTS he is not worried about losing his place as Ireland’s first-choice goalkeeper but admits it is conceivable that, with the return of Keiren Westwood to Sunderland’s first XI, the new manager Martin O’Neill might consider changing the order on the basis the latter is playing in the Premier League.

O’Neill worked with Westwood at Sunderland and Forde is under no illusions that the number one shirt, which has been his since the trip to Sweden in March, is no longer guaranteed to be his own.

Although Westwood spent last season as second-choice at the Stadium of Light, under both O’Neill and the Derry man’s replacement Paolo Di Canio, the summer sale of Simon Mignolet to Liverpool has meant he has been a constant starter so far this season for the Black Cats — despite sustaining a neck injury following a clash with Paul McShane in their defeat at Hull on Saturday.

Westwood, fitness allowing, is likely to get some game time in this month’s friendlies against Latvia and Poland. Yet Forde has vowed not to think about the possibility of losing his place and will concentrate on his own club form at Millwall.

“There is always a chance but it hasn’t really worried me if that could happen or not, I’m not worried about anyone else’s jobs. I’m just going to focus on myself,” he said.

“I can only concentrate on what David Forde is doing because there’s no point in getting bogged down. If I focus on David Forde, keep performing well for Millwall and with Ireland then I’ll have done all I can.

“I just love playing for my country, it’s still a dream coming true every time I play. We’re all eagerly awaiting working with the new manager. It’s going to make for an interesting time.”

image

Ireland goalkeeper David Forde picks the ball out of the net after Sami Khedira opened the scoring for Germany. INPHO/Donall Farmer

His performance in the 3-0 loss in Germany last month earned plaudits from all quarters and in particular from the caretaker Noel King.

Forde feels King was harshly criticised during his brief spells in charge and is also quick to jump to the defence of Giovanni Trapattoni, whose reign was quickly soured by dressing-room rifts.

“I think Noel did a fantastic job. We enjoyed the week with him. He changed some things and it gave people a lift because there were different ideas. We had a game plan and it could have been different in Germany if a couple of things went our way but it was a breath of fresh air and it was a good way to finish against Kazakhstan.”

As for Trapattoni, Forde adds: “There’s two sides to every story. I’ve only great admiration for Mr Trapattoni. He called me up, gave me my debut and I’ve nothing but gratitude for the man. He is fantastic as a person first and foremost and his managerial record speaks for itself.”

Lions

Forde also confirmed that talks are ongoing over a new contract with Millwall. The keeper’s current deal with the Championship club ends next summer and he is eager to extend his stay – despite harbouring ambitions to play in the Premier League.

The ultimate would be to reach the top tier with the Lions but he acknowledges that it is unlikely to happen this season with the club currently in 18th and undergoing a period of transition.

“We are in talks about a new contract at the moment and things are progressing there,” he added. “I’ve spoken with the manager [Steve Lomas] about it and I’d love to stay. It’s been a fantastic move for me since I came here.

“You look at our budget and gates compared to other clubs and we are small in that sense but we hold our own and can punch above our weight.

“But I do have that hunger, drive and ambition to play in the Premier League. I’ve always wanted to do it and the desire is burning inside me. It would be lovely to do it with Millwall of course but we’ll have to wait and see.”

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