Even as a shy teenager, Caoimhin Kelleher could see a window to his future.
In May 2015, Kelleher was 16 and preparing to bring his Junior Cert books with him to Bulgaria for the European U-17 Championships. He discussed his imminent move to Liverpool in a discussion with a small group of Irish journalists.
As you would expect for a kid of that age, he was quite nervous and delivered short answers while largely avoiding eye contact. Yet there was clarity in his thinking when it came to discussing his preferred style of netminding.
"I like Manuel Neuer and the way he plays football," said Kelleher. "He is good with his feet, the same as me because I was (an) outfield (player). I like coming off my line.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could not hide his delight at Kelleher’s performance (Jon Super/PA)
"I think you have to do that in the modern game. It's become a part of the goalkeeper's game," he continued, explaining how his grounding as a striker that had helped him when he dropped back between the sticks.
"I think it helps. It makes you a lot more confident with the ball. You can keep the ball for your team rather than just kick it away."
Fast forward five-and-a-half years and Kelleher has become the first Irishman to keep a clean sheet in a Champions League group game.
In the aftermath of victory, Jurgen Klopp explained with perfect clarity that it was the Corkman's ability with his feet that helped to get him the nod over Adrian when he assessed his options for Ajax in the absence of Alisson.
"In this game we needed the football playing ability, the natural football playing ability of Caoimhin," he asserted.
Those who watched the match could see that decision was vindicated with Kelleher extremely composed when it came to distribution, an important facet of the job at the very highest level.
Of course, it helped that his shot-stopping was on point too. In his previous Liverpool outings, Kelleher has endured a few difficult moments but the club could always see that the raw materials for what they desired was there.
When Klopp arrived at Liverpool, he saw there was a goalkeeper coming through their academy ranks that ticked the boxes for him.
If life had gone in another direction, Kelleher could have been scoring goals at this stage of career as opposed to keeping them out.
The story of his sliding doors moment is well known to everyone involved with his boyhood club Ringmahon Rangers.
He was a prolific front man right through the ranks up to U-14 level but a crisis between the sticks left Ringmahon management with a problem.
Their boss Eddie Harrington took a call from Caoimhin's father Ray who explained that the youngest of his six children had an interest in goalkeeping and shown potential in Kennedy Cup training sessions.
The change was made and the rest is history. Kelleher was a Manchester United fan as a kid but Liverpool won him over.
Tragically, Ray passed away in 2014, a devastating blow to a close-knit family.
Sporting talent runs through the genes.
Caoimhin's brother Fiacre - a defender - plays with Wrexham having spent time on the books at Celtic.
Tim is a scratch golfer, while Olan is a talented hurler with Blackrock. There will be pride in how the cub is bringing the family history to a wider audience.
He's already in the Ireland picture, and Stephen Kenny spoke in very positive terms about Kelleher prior to the November window, explaining that he felt he was ready to play at that level once he got games under his belt.
It was Kenny who detailed how Kelleher was due to make a loan move to the Eredivisie this season before Alisson's fitness issues put a stop to it. Ironically enough, he ended up making a Dutch impact in another way.
The description of Kelleher's style sits comfortably in tandem with the vision for Kenny's Ireland so it's hardly a leap to suggest that he will firmly be in the Dubliner's thoughts.
It was a strange November window for Ireland from a goalkeeping perspective with huge question marks surrounding the future of coach Alan Kelly.
He was not helped by how his unhappiness with a few internal issues was spun to suit agendas - and therefore had to angrily deny that he was leaking material to newspapers - but it's unclear if he will be around in 2021.
That has been unsettling for Darren Randolph, who has a good relationship with Kelly, yet the first-choice goalkeeper has also suffered from a mischievous rumour mill.
Senior players are known to be fuming with how certain matters have been reported and exaggerated, yet it's not a stretch to suggest that Kenny will have to smooth things over with Randolph and get a handle on the source for some Chinese whispers around his Irish intentions.
Randolph does now have a genuine rival in Kelleher, however, much as it would be hysterical to get carried away on the basis of one fixture.
He had a tough moment in Finland but Randolph is competent with the ball at his feet and has been consistently excellent in recent years.
But if he remains on the sidelines with West Ham then he becomes vulnerable to a challenge, much as we know that Kelleher will revert to back-up status when Alisson is around.
Kenny rates Manchester City's Gavin Bazunu highly - another ball-playing goalkeeper - and the experience he is gaining at Rochdale will stand to him.
It's a position where Ireland are in good hands and if the Irish manager had a bit more credit in the bank then he might be tempted to roll the dice and go with an option that fits closer to his vision for how the game should be played.
Put it this way, if March comes around and Randolph has issues with his sharpness then the idea of turning to Kelleher shouldn't be a source of panic.
His calm approach to Tuesday's test bodes well for how he would handle it.