Most had assumed that Martin O'Neill would play it safe and stick with David Forde, the man who had begun the qualification campaign as Ireland No. 1.
When he threw on Forde for the final half-hour of tonight's run-out against Belarus, many seemed to read it as confirmation that Forde had a seat on the plane.
However, he plumped for the in-form Westwood and Forde was out. O'Neill appeared to be pained by the decision in his post-announcement interview with Tony O'Donoghue on RTE.
Speaking to reporters outside, he praised Forde's performances in the qualifiers. The deciding factor in leaving him out was that he hadn't played enough in recent months.
David Forde is obviously disappointed because he has been a big part of proceedings and made a wonderful save against Germany way back when they were leading 1-0.
They could have gone 2-0 and the game would have been long way back and we end up getting that point that eventually takes us to France.
That’s a disappointment for him. He has been excellent for us and there are one or two disappointments as well. It’s a shame but that’s part and parcel of the game.
While most seem to agree that Westwood was the correct call, many have argued that Given was a better candidate for omission than Forde. Though, it was long accepted that this was unlikely.
I feel sorry for David Forde. I cant remember him doing anything wrong in green. At least he got to finish his Ireland career on the pitch.
— Daniel Kelly (@IsMiseDaniel) May 31, 2016
Feel for David Forde but he should have left Millwall when he had the chance. Westwood should be pushing Randolph. Given is very lucky.
— Rob Brennan (@RobBrennan82) May 31, 2016
Don't get why David Forde was thrown on tonight when management surely knew they weren't bringing him? Hardly played himself off it.
— Pat Nolan (@pat_nolan) May 31, 2016
@noriordan its very strange . Everyone talking up MON loyalty towards certain players. I doubt David Forde is thinking that at minute.
— Stephen Elliott (@SleevesElliott) May 31, 2016
Forde's conduct after the game has been praised by Brendan O'Brien. After hearing the sickening news that he would not be travelling and that his international career was effectively over, he walked outside and diligently hung around signing autographs.
Fair play to David Forde who just stopped to sign a load of autographs minutes after being cut from the Euro squad. Tough night for him.
— Brendan O'Brien (@Rackob) May 31, 2016
In other news, Westwood has been handed the No. 1 shirt. Significant?
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) May 31, 2016