WALES goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has set his sights on beating the all-time international appearance record of his hero Neville Southall.
The 20-year-old Wolves youngster, who won his first cap at Wrexham in May, is set to make his fourth consecutive outing in Saturday’s European Championship match with Germany in Cardiff and he has yet to concede a goal for John Toshack’s young guns.
And although that record will come under intense pressure against the three-time World Cup winners at the Millennium Stadium, it’s unlikely to have an adverse effect on Beaumaris-born Hennessey’s long-term prospects of a long career for both club and country.
He admitted that surpassing Southall’s achievement of 92 caps in a 15-year international career from 1982 to 1997 was his ultimate goal.
“Neville Southall was my schoolboy here and I used to support Everton until he stopped playing for them,” he said. “I just wanted to be like him and when people say I can be the next Southall it’s a great compliment.
“He is Wales’ most-capped player and I’d like to think maybe one day I’ll overtake him. But the first thing I’ve got to do is make sure I keep the shirt.”
Despite his relative youth and inexperience, Hennessey is no stranger to records, having set a new Football League mark of nine consecutive clean sheets last season during a loan spell at Stockport County.
And with an ever more crowded international fixture list the Wolves stopper could conceivably reach Southall’s mark before his 28th birthday, an age at which goalkeepers are said to be approaching their best.