The Ireland under-19 winger looked comfortable on the big stage, pitting his skills against the likes of Robin van Persie and Mikel Arteta as Wolves pinched a precious 1-1 draw.
Gracing the Premier League represents a major leap over a two-year period for the teen who started out playing for local club Ballingarry before spending a stint with Kingdom Boys in Kerry.
Forde said: “The atmosphere inside the stadium was quite special, I have to honest.
“I had come on as a sub at Stamford Bridge a few weeks ago but this was my first time starting and I needed to concentrate on my job.
“For me personally, it showed that I can play at that level against big teams and players. It’s only a small step but if I keeping working hard and doing my best, things could get even better.
“It’s like I’m living the dream.”
He added: “If I’m making the people of Ballingarry and Limerick proud by them having a player in the Premier League, I’d be delighted with that.”
Having been informed about his starting slot by McCarthy on Christmas Eve, Forde had sufficient time to arrange for his family to make the cross-channel trip for the big game.
Though he was able to spot his parents Noel and Christina, as well as brother Kevin and sister Leanne, in the crowd during the warm-up, it was down to work for the tyro.
“I gave them a wave, and that was it until after the game,” explained the teen.
McCarthy yesterday hinted Forde could be involved for Saturday’s crunch visit to Bolton Wanderers.
“I thought Fordey was brilliant against Arsenal,” he said. “He is a player — make no mistake.
“It was an easy decision to pick him because I knew it was the right decision. I’m not looking for any plaudits for picking one of the youngsters — he is worthy of it.”