Forgotten man Paul McGinley wants to play his part in Ireland’s sensational tour success story and prove he’s still got the stuff of champions.

And that’s why he’s doubly determined to maintain his unbeaten record when he tees it up under skipper Jose Maria Olazabal in the Royal Trophy in Thailand this week.

The Dubliner, 42, almost went unnoticed last term as pal Padraig Harrington won two majors and Irish aces Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane racked up another six wins between them.

McGinley has been winless since the 2005 Volvo Masters but insists that he is close to regaining his winning touch.

Working hard on his fitness and his putting, he explained: “The number of wins for Irish players almost reached double figures on tour last year and that’s the party I want to join.

“I finished 26th in the money list with a lot of top 10's and cuts made.  But I was disappointed not to really get into a challenging position to win a tournament.

“Although 2008 won’t go down as one of my better years, I felt I made some really good progress on my putting with Paul Hurrion but that hasn't shown in my putting stats yet.”

Never on the losing side in three Ryder Cup and two Royal Trophy appearances, McGinley was the first name that Seve Ballesteros put on the Royal Trophy team sheet before a surgery for a brain tumour forced him to call in Olazabal as skipper this week.

Olazabal described McGinley as a “tremendous” team player but he has warned his side that Asia will be gunning for them at Amata Springs Country Club near Bangkok this week.

Europe has a new look line-up this year with the likes of Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson making way for newcomers Oliver Wilson, Soren Hansen and Pablo Larrazabal.

And Olazabal knows that another defeat so soon after last September’s Ryder Cup reverse would damage Europe’s reputation as a golfing force.

Warning his players to take the strong Asian side seriously or face defeat, Ollie said: “We're facing a different team and we have to concentrate fully this week. We have to focus on the Asians and we have to be on our toes. We don't know what they're capable of."

One of the favourites to skipper the European Ryder Cup side in 2010, Olazabal knows that he will be under pressure in Thailand.

Olazabal said: "It is something in the back of my mind, I can't deny that. The result may be important, but what I want this week is to make the players comfortable and happy.

"It's a big responsibility. I'm very excited but it's down to the players and my job will be to make them as comfortable as possible."

With Ballesteros still recovering from brain surgery, Olazabal wants to continue Europe’s unbeaten Royal Trophy run by doing things his way.

Referrring to Ballesteros, he said: "I wish he could be here as captain and we hoped the circumstances would have been different. I have talked to him a few times but I want to do it my way, the way I decide.”

The action begins on Friday with four foursomes, followed by fourballs on Saturday and eight singles matches on Sunday,

Europe: Nick Dougherty (England), Johan Edfors (Sweden), Niclas Fasth (Sweden), Soren Hansen (Denmark), Pablo Larrazabal (Spain), Paul Lawrie (Scot),  Paul McGinley (Ireland), Oliver Wilson (England).  Capt. Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain).

Asia: Prayad Marksaeng (Thailand ), Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand); Charlie Wi (Kor), S.K. Ho (Kor), Liang Wen-chong (China), Toru Taniguchi (Jap), Hideto Tanihara (Jap), Ryo Ishikawa (Jap). Capt. Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki.