IRELAND goalkeeper David Forde is thrilled that fans of the international team will finally get a chance to see Wes Hoolahan in action in a green shirt in tomorrow's friendly against Greece.
Forde, in confident mood after winning back his place in the Millwall side in recent weeks after a long spell on the bench, is hoping to win his fourth senior cap at some stage in the Greek game, but for Hoolahan it's a chance to play for the senior team for only the second time.
The keeper knows all about Weso from their time as opponents in the League of Ireland and Forde is excited at the prospect of seeing the Norwich man in an Ireland shirt.
"Wes is a fantastic talent but I knew that even a few years back," says Forde. "I played against him a fair bit in Ireland when we were on opposing sides, Shels and Derry had a real rivalry around that time, and I've played against him a few times in England with Millwall.
"It's brilliant to see him in the squad and if he gets a run tomorrow I think the Dublin crowd will enjoy seeing him -- Wes has waited a long time to get his chance. It's a chance for a few players and all of the squad are very keen to play against Greece."
Forde knows all about having to wait for a chance at international level, as he was 31 when he made his senior debut, against Northern Ireland last year, so the second coming of Hoolahan, at the age of 30, is something he can understand.
"You're never too old, I know that myself," says Forde. "You look across the board, Leon Osman is 31 and it looks like he'll make his international debut this week too.
"I am 32 now but I feel I have years left in me. I see lads like Brad Friedel go on and do well so I think I have eight to 10 years left."
Forde is relieved to come in for international duty at a time when his club career is on an upward curve, the Galway man dislodging Maik Taylor from the Lions side. He has played a vital role as Millwall moved from the relegation zone to their current place in the league, just four points off the playoff zone.
"The form is good, I have played in the last 10 games and we're unbeaten in nine so it's a good run, for me and the team," says Forde, who admits that he had time for reflection in that spell when he was dropped by his club.
"I was speaking to Alan Kelly about this yesterday, the fact that I learned an awful lot in the last few months, learning how to deal with things like not being in the team.
"It wasn't nice, all that time I was out of the picture, but it gave me a chance to recharge the batteries and kick on when I did get into the side again. Being out of the Millwall side was hard to take but I dealt with it and I think it made me stronger."
Keiren Westwood has established himself as Ireland's No. 1 in the wake of Shay Given's retirement and Forde admits he has a battle ahead of him to leapfrog the Sunderland man.
"All I can do is concentrate on my club form and make sure my own performances are up to scratch. Keiren has done great for Ireland but the decision is out of my hands, if I get a chance I won't let the manager or Ireland down."