Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has hailed Everton hero Neville Southall as one of his idols ahead of the World Cup.

The Reds custodian is set to be named as Rob Page’s number one for the tournament which takes place in Qatar.

That seems just rewards for Hennessey who is only behind Chris Gunter and Gareth Bale on the all-time appearance list for Wales.

The 35-year-old signed for Forest during the summer on a free transfer after leaving Burnley.

Hennessey Wales hero
(Photo; Michael Regan; Getty Images)

He was signed to provide competition for Dean Henderson. The Wales number one has kept goal in Carabao Cup games against Grimsby and Tottenham.

The uncompromising stopper was part of two European Championship campaigns for Wales; including a run to the semi-final in 2016.

Now, he’s got a first World Cup for Wales since 1958 firmly in his sights.

Ahead of the tournament, he’s spoken on the influence of Southall who he suggests has been a great inspiration to him.

He told Dai Sport: “I always wanted Wales to get to a World Cup, and I would have loved to see Neville Southall on the big stage like this.

“He’s my ultimate hero. Any Advice I could get from him is key at an event like this.

“What a Wales legend he is. He still comes to watch the games and it’s always nice to get his feedback.

“Sitting in a room with him and just listening to him is absolutely massive.”

Hennessey hails Wales hero Southall

In some way, the Forest man has already eclipsed what the ex-Everton man achieved for his country.

Southall was never able to lead Wales in a World Cup but that dream for Hennessey will become a reality next week.

The 35-year-old was in fantastic form as Wales reached the World Cup by defeating Ukraine.

Hennessey Wales hero
(Photo; James Williamson; AMA; Getty Images)

In an emotionally charged game, Hennessey was the Man of the Match, making a staggering nine saves for his country.

Wales will face England, Iran and the USA at the World Cup.

As a result, they might need the Forest man to be at his very best once again to reach the knockout stages.

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