Ireland have just played their first game of this years European Championships, losing out 3-1 to Croatia.
Millwall’s David Forde may well be third choice goalie for the Irish, but I bet if you told him four years ago that he would be in the squad for a European Championships, he would’ve thought you were crazy.
Forde joined Millwall in the summer of 2008 after being released by Cardiff City and he soon endeared himself to the Lions faithful, in only his fifth game for the club he dramatically saved a last minute penalty against Huddersfield to secure the lions first win of the season.
This was a good first season for Forde at The Den, after saving a Jermaine Beckford penalty in the play-off semi final against Leeds, before losing to Scunthorpe in the final, despite this Forde had a good season also by keeping the 2nd highest amount of clean sheets. His strong personality shadowed his play on the pitch, from quiet to loud-mouthed in seconds. Plus being described a having a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality by more then one teammate will endear him more to the Millwall faithful, a passionate mentalist.
Forde went on to play in all competitive games the Lions in both of their play off seasons as Millwall went back to Wembley the following season, this time to win as they beat Swindon Town. Forde went from being relatively unknown to being one of the most reliable goalies out of the two top divisions. Forde was also another brilliant example of Kenny Jackett building a successful team on one of the smallest budgets in the division.
A higher division brought a higher challenge for the whole team, especially Forde as higher quality players would come up against them, little faults began to become apparent in the Ireland internationals play, his kicking was poor and looked to be beat easily from long range.
Despite this Forde was still the Lions number one as the lions flirted with the play offs in their successful first season back in the Championship. This season also saw Forde collect the highest honour in playing football, playing for your country. Forde collected his first cap against Northern Ireland in May 2011
Millwall’s second season in the Championship saw Forde come under pressure for the first time. Poor performances and injuries saw Steve Mildenhall come in for his first run in the team. Forde brought more mistakes into his game, including errors against West Ham and Brighton cost the Lions vital points in their relegation battle, which saw him dropped again.
This was the final straw for Kenny Jackett who brought in Maik Taylor on loan. Taylor’s great performances saw him signed up on a one-year deal for the upcoming season.
Despite less game time, Forde was picked for the EIRE Euro 2012 squad and despite being considered third choice, this could bring new found confidence to Forde. Good enough to beat Maik Taylor to the number one jersey next season? Not for me, but he isn’t a bad second choice.