Chris Kirkland continues his Sheffield Wednesday renaissance tomorrow with manager Dave Jones believing that he should never give up on an England recall.
The Owls keeper is still only 32 and has been in fine form since moving from Wigan to Hillsborough last year.
He has also put behind him the injury problems that hampered his career after he played frequently for England Under 21s and was a regular in the senior squad.
Although he was regarded as a future number one and was signed by Liverpool, he won only one cap.
But Jones cites Kevin Davies and Rickie Lambert as examples of players who have made the England squad when in their 30s.
The Wednesday boss said: “If you have aspirations to to play at international level, then never give up.
“I think that’s been proved: look at Davies last year, Lambert this year, both of them 30-plus.
“You should never say never, You don’t know what’s around the corner. If they’ve got aspirations like that, then why not?”
Jones also thinks that Kirkland can get even better as he prepares to play his 50th consecutive league game for the Owls.
His form was one reason why Stephen Bywater left for first-team football at Millwall.
But Bywater’s absence and a fresh assessment by Jones of the goalkeeping department has led the manager to conclude that he needs to bring in another more experienced player.
He believes that youngsters Adam Davies and Cameron Dawson are not ready for Championship football, should they be needed in the short term, and Arron Jameson is out with a groin problem that has set back his career in the past.
Rapid Vienna keeper Lukas Konigshofer, aged 24, a former team-mate of Atdhe Nuhiu in Austria, has had a spell training with the Owls but has gone back home.
Jones said: “Lukas is only young. We’ll keep having a look at him.
“Arron has been having a horrific time. He was due to see a specialist this week, and we’re waiting for the report. He can’t shake off this problem that he has. We have to get to the root of it - it seems to be difficult to find.
“I think we need to bring somebody else in. We lost Stephen Bywater; we need to bring in a number one to push a number one. If we get another keeper, they’ll slug it out. We had that last season. He (Kirkland) needs competition. He needs to be pushed. The young boys aren’t ready yet.
“Chrissy needs to be put under pressure. I think he can do better; I’ll say that about every player.
“He’s been consistent. Credit to him. We have to wrap him in cotton wool now and again. We need that competition; it’s healthy.
“He knows I’m looking around; if that keeps him on his toes, all well and good.”
Jones remains in the market for three players, including a striker and a midfield player, but says he has not made an inquiry about Montenegro forward Andrija Delibasic, with whom the club have been linked.
With Reda Johnson set to return, it is a question of who drops from the starting line-up against Millwall tomorrow. Jeremy Helan looks likely to push forward from left back to left-side midfield, which would leave Michail Antonio, Liam Palmer, Jacques Maghoma and Chris Maguire as the four main contenders for two places: one out wide, and one up front alongside Atdhe Nuhiu.
Maguire was taken off in the 65th minute at Leeds after making a rare start, up front, and may miss out this time. Jones said: “Chris has been doing ok. While players are here, they’ll always get an opportunity to stake their claim; that’s important.”
Caolan Lavery will hope to be on the bench again but Jones feels that he is now at the stage where he would benefit from a loan move, like Palmer did. “I don’t want to curtail his development; he needs to go out on loan, like one or two of the youngsters,” said Jones, who will have Jermaine Johnson back from suspension, after tomorrow. “Caolan has earned the right to sit on the bench, But he does need to play games.”
Jones pays little heed to Millwall’s bad start of no goals and no points from their first three games: “They have some quality players, some experienced Premier-League-cum-top-Championship players. We have to be at our best; we can’t take anything for granted.
“Mark Beevers was a good servant here even before my time, and Stephen Bywater I couldn’t fault
“I was surprised he left. We wanted to keep him. He thought he had a better chance of first-team football there, in view of what Chris was doing here.
“It will be nice to see them again, but that’s as far as it goes, because I want to beat them.”
It is Millwall’s worst league start in 36 years, though they have beaten Wimbledon in the Capital One Cup.
The Lions will also set a new club record of seven games without a league goal if they fail to net tomorrow.
Manager Steve Lomas said: “If teams had absolutely ruined us, then I’d be worried. But there hasn’t been much in the games.”