THE daily diet of Fraser Forster chat comprises obligatory discussion of the Celtic keeper’s quest to make England’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil this summer and his clean sheet run.
Today’s home game with St Johnstone gives Forster the opportunity to equal the all-time Scottish league record of 12 games without conceding, set by Bobby Clark in 1970-71. Another talking point can be added today with the announcement of Forster as the SPFL Premiership player of the month for January.
It is an accolade that probably wouldn’t make any impression on Peter Shilton. The former England goalkeeper caused a stooshie with the predictable contention that the 25-year-old Celtic keeper wasn’t tested enough in Scotland to vie seriously for a World Cup spot.
Forster said: “I’ve obviously read Peter Shilton’s comments but I got my first England cap while playing for Celtic. I’ve had the opportunity here to play in the Champions League. Only four clubs down south get the chance to do that, so that highlights how lucky I am to be playing on that stage with Celtic.
“There’s no reason why I can’t make the World Cup with England. If you are playing as well as you can for your club then that will be watched and noted. You can only play as well as you can for Celtic.”
Perhaps Forster’s problem is that he has been playing too well. To have played more than 1,000 minutes without losing a goal in league football can only but give the impression to outsiders of a gulf in competitiveness.
Yet Forster agrees with the assertion that the circumstances he faces in Scotland can make his job tricky. He would venture, indeed, that his club experience is perfect preparation for playing at England level.
“You can say I don’t get tested that much up here but look at international keepers. Playing at a club like Celtic can be the same. There can be long periods of not being involved but then you have to do something important in the last minute — and have to do it well.”