'I want the jersey back' - Forde eager to remain first choice for Ireland

The Millwall shotstopper was forced to watch from the substitutes bench as Rob Elliot made his debut against Turkey but is keen to return to the first team
David Forde is determined to return to the starting XI in the Republic of Ireland's forthcoming international friendly game against Italy on Saturday.

The Millwall goalkeeper sat on the bench in the recent 2-1 defeat to Turkey at the Aviva Stadium as Rob Elliot made his international debut. However, Forde revealed that sitting on the substitutes bench increased his hunger to play and is keen to feature in the upcoming game at Craven Cottage.

“I want the jersey back,” said Forde. “You get a different perspective from watching the game from the bench; it gives you a bit between your teeth and you get a hunger to start the next game. As a professional footballer you just want to play games."

Ireland are looking to recover from their defeat to Fatih Terim's side by seeking a win against Italy at the weekend and Forde is relishing the chance to face the Azzurri.

“I am looking forward to it,” said the 34-year-old. “I think I will be in for a busy night. They are a fantastic outfit, they done very well in past tournaments throughout the past year. They will be all out at [the World Cup]."

The loss against Turkey on Sunday was Martin O’Neill's second successive defeat since taking over from Giovanni Trapattoni last November. Nevertheless, Forde has seen signs of change under the former Celtic and Aston Villa boss.

“The biggest thing I picked up on is we play at a higher tempo,” said Forde. “We play a very high pressing game, that is one thing. We are just not taking our chances when it comes to us."

Ireland have a vast choice when it comes to picking players for the goalkeeping role in Martin O’Neill’s side. A new recruit who joined up with the senior team this week was Manchester City starlet, Ian Lawlor and Forde acknowledged that the Boys in Green youth international had a "bright future" in the game.

“He looks a good prospect,” said the former Derry City shot-stopper. “He has done well over the past few days, he has a bright future.”

However, Forde was less forthright on his own future, admitting that talks with the Lions are ongoing.

“I am still in talks with the club and all that stuff,” he said. “Your guess [to when it will be sorted] is as good as mine at this moment.”