Friday 15 December 2017

Meditations on life help Forde deal with pressures of being Ireland's number one

David Forde
David Forde

David Forde believes he is now ten times the player who first came into the Ireland squad under Giovanni Trapattoni.

Whether he's still No. 1 in terms of the Ireland goalkeeping position come Sunday night remains to be seen, Forde's status as first-choice now under real pressure from Shay Given ahead of a qualifier which Ireland simply cannot afford to lose.

But as befits a man who has brought meditation into his life of late, even professing the value of Vedanta (part of the Hindu belief system - I had to look it up), Forde is able to block out all the noise and pressures and focus on his job, threats from within (Given) or without (the deadly Polish forward Robert Lewandowski) brushed aside.

"I concentrate on what I'm doing. That's all I can control. I can't wave a wand and look after anyone else. I'm just focused on myself and my own game and trying to improve myself," says Forde.

"I think my game has improved ten fold since Trap brought me into the side.

"Even for the self-esteem and the confidence, that has certainly helped and that has come up.

"It's just amazing, every time I come home and play for my country, even meeting up, I treat it as if it's my last time. I really enjoy it and savour it," added Forde, aware that the goalkeeping slot - which has been his for two years now - is under discussion.

That's naturally a frustration for Forde, who has done little wrong for Ireland, but it's not something he's getting distracted by.

"Martin's got a big decision about the 11, we all want to play. I'm no different, Shay's no different," added Forde.

"That's the manager's prerogative. That's his decision. That's what he gets paid for. All I can do is do what I do on the pitch."

"I've huge admiration for Shay and what he has done for the country. At the end of the day we're under the one flag, the one country, I just want to qualify for the Euros."

Shay Given
Shay Given

Poland have threats from all over the park, especially Dutch-based attacker Arkadiusz Milik, but Bayern Munich's Lewandowski stands out. "I've played against him twice now," Forde says.

"The first time we beat them at the Aviva and they had a good side that night, we played really well.

"The second time was Martin's second game, we got a clean sheet out there. I've two clean sheets against them. Hopefully that stands us in good stead and sets a trend."

Forde will take any help he can for tests like the one on Sunday.

"I suppose I meditate and stuff like that. I do a lot of meditation and study of Vedanta - things like that - I'll let you look that up," he told the press after training in Dublin.

"It's just about learning a means to an end; what you can do to help yourself really."

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