Hendo relishing Ireland opportunity

Stephen Henderson is looking to impress after joining up with the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of their international friendly with Oman on Tuesday evening.

The No13 will start the game at Craven Cottage as a substitute, with Millwall's former West Ham United trainee David Forde getting the nod from Trapattoni.

Henderson admitted to being shocked to get the call-up after Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni allowed No1 Kieren Westwood to return to Sunderland, but he is earger to take his chance to impress both in training and in match action should he get on to the pitch.

"It was a surprise to me," said Henderson. "I had literally just got off the plane from Ireland as we were given a couple of days off and I went home. I was returning from there and I got a text saying I had been called up and to meet up with the team on Monday morning at their hotel.

"I am very excited to be here. I am here to impress the manager and make sure he knows what I can do and anything else will be a bonus, but I am delighted."

For the 24-year-old, this may be a chance to earn his first senior cap for his country after coming through the international ranks and representing his country at every level from Under-15 through to Under-21.

Henderson was named among the substitutes for the friendly international with Czech Republic in Dublin in February 2012, but is hoping to get some game-time in west London this time around.

"I have been involved in the international set-up since I was about 14, so for me to make it now for senior level has always been my goal.

"I have to wait and see if I get my chance. I just have to work hard in training. The manager knows his options and I know there are lads ahead of me, but I am very happy to be here and be involved in the squad, especially with more World Cup qualifiers coming up."

Henderson was greeted by his Hammers team-mate Joey O'Brien when he arrived at the squad's base on Monday morning. The defender also hoping to get a chance in tomorrow's match after travelling 6,000 miles for Friday's 2-1 FIFA World Cup Group C qualifying win in Kazakhstan without seeing any action.

For Henderson, who joined West Ham on a permanent deal in the summer following his arrival on loan from Portsmouth towards the end of last season, it is about making his mark at both club and country.

He enjoyed a solid performance between the sticks for West Ham in the Capital One Cup second-round victory over Crewe Alexandra last month and is looking to take up the same opportunity if he can as he challenges Jussi Jaaskelainen for the No1 spot.

"That was good for me against Crewe. At the end of the day, for me to have the chances internationally, I have to be playing and do well at my club. That is my first aim anyway - to do well at West Ham.

"I am keeping myself focused on the fact that when I get my chance, I have to take it. League games or cup games, they all matter to me. Hopefully I can get my opportunity again if possible and just be as ready as I can for every match we play."