ENGLAND’S record cap holder Peter Shilton has urged Fraser Forster to leave Celtic and return south of the Border if he is serious about making the breakthrough into Roy Hodgson’s team, claiming he often has “very little to do” in domestic games in Scotland.
Forster, who hopes to make it into Hodgson’s World Cup squad, has been outstanding for Neil Lennon’s side this season and broke a 92-year-old club record earlier this month when he kept his 11th clean sheet in a row, although his run of 19 hours and 23 minutes without condeding a goal came to an end on Saturday when Aberdeen knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup by winning 2-1 at Parkhead.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed stellar performances in the Champions League this season, most notably against Barcelona, but he is still considered an outsider when it comes to international selection. Forster has been in the match-day squad on 11 occasions, but so far he has only earned one cap – in last November’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Chile.
England goalkeeping great Shilton, who won 125 caps and played in three World Cups, thinks Forster’s chances of representing his country will improve if he moves back to the country of his birth. “I don’t want to knock Scottish football but, at the same time, there is no doubt that if Fraser Forster was playing for a Premier League club week in, week out and getting tested, he would be in a better position than just standing between the sticks for Celtic and having very little to do every week. As a goalkeeper, you always need to be tested and he isn’t being tested at Celtic now that they are out of the Champions League.”
Celtic are unbeaten at the top of the Scottish Premiership, but with Rangers no longer in the top flight, Shilton fears the strength of the league has suffered.
Shilton was impressed with the way Forster coped against Chile last year even though the former Newcastle stopper was beaten twice by Alexis Sanchez in the defeat. Shilton, an ambassador for the Budweiser Open Trials campaign, which will provide amateur footballers with the opportunity to play at Wembley in front of scouts, said: “He didn’t look out of place during that game. He is a big lad and I like his attitude. He went down a bit early for the second goal. You could see he was really disappointed and I like that sort of attitude.
“I think Forster may get another half in the next couple of games as Roy will probably experiment,” Shilton said. “The goalkeeper position is vital because anything could happen at a World Cup.”