You've got to feel a wee bit sorry for Ireland keeper David Forde as Euro 2016 closes in
Despite not putting a foot wrong at international level, he is plummeting down the pecking order15:35 Wednesday 23 March 2016, 15:35 23 Mar 2016
If there's a sure sign where David Forde fits in the pecking order for Ireland, Martin O'Neill pretty much confirmed it today.
The Ireland manager let it be known that Newcastle's Rob Elliot and West Ham's Darren Randolph will each start the Boys in Green's upcoming pre-Euro 2016 friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia:
O'Neill says Rob Elliott will start one game and Darren Randolph will start the other.— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 23, 2016
Forde kept goal for the first matches of the qualifying campaign and the thing is the Galway man has hardly ever put a foot wrong in an Ireland shirt with some occasionally exceptional performances like a 3-0 2014 World Cup qualifier defeat to Germany in which the result could have been far, far worse but for his agility and concentration. That's just one example.
But with Randolph and Newcastle's current starter Elliot ahead of him and Sheffield Wednesday's Kieran Westwood and veteran Shay Given still pressing their claims for inclusion, Forde is in danger of missing out on this summer's tournament.
Forde, Given and Westwood fighting for the third goalkeeper's spot for Euro 2016? https://t.co/MLu5nltm9K— Newstalk Sport (@NewstalkSport) March 23, 2016
Of course, the 36-year-old has some circumstance working against him, namely his age and the fact that he is no longer a starter at Championship side Millwall, where Jordan Archer has usurped him.
But aside from Given, he remains by far the most experienced keeper at O'Neill's disposal as the manager looks to pick three options from four or five.
No one is saying he should be starting, as O'Neill will have thought long and hard about making the switch to start with Randolph - who is not a No 1 at club level either - during the qualifying campaign.
But in a straight fight with Given for the third goalkeeper spot after Randolph and Elliot - assuming Westwood is a little further back - it would be disappointing if Forde were to miss out against a player who has been a wonderful servant for Ireland but recently had injury issues and just two League Cup appearances this season.
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now