Celtic’s Fraser Forster confident that England and Norwich City goalkeeper coach Dave Watson will help him reach World Cup
06:30 17 February 2014
Former Norwich City goalkeeper Fraser Forster has hit back at England legend Peter Shilton about his World Cup hopes, with some help from Canaries goalkeeper coach Dave Watson.
Celtic stopper Forster has set a new Scottish Premier League record by keeping his 12th consecutive clean sheets in the league.
The 25-year-old made his England debut in a 2-0 friendly loss to Chile at Wembley last November, with City’s John Ruddy not getting the chance to add to his one cap, watching Forster from the substitutes’ bench.
The 6ft 7in stopper got his fledgling career up and running by helping the Canaries win the League One title in 2009/10, when on loan from Newcastle.
He then spent two seasons on loan at Celtic before a £2.5m move in the summer of 2012 and has forced his way into Roy Hodgson’s England squad with top performances in the Champions League.
Yet Shilton, England’s most-capped player with 125 caps, feels that is not enough to guarantee Forster a place alongside Joe Hart in this summer’s World Cup squad.
“I don’t want to knock Scottish football but if Forster was playing for a Premier League club week in week out and getting tested he’d be in a better position than just standing between the sticks for Celtic and having very little to do,” Shilton said.
Forster is thought to be battling with Ruddy and West Brom’s Ben Foster for one of the three goalkeeper slots.
He is not worried by Shilton’s comments though as he believes the England management, including Norwich goalkeeping coach Watson, know what he is capable of.
“Dave Watson is England’s goalkeeper coach, he’s also at Norwich, and he’s been spot-on with me,” Forster told the Daily Mail. “I think everyone down south knows Celtic is a massive club.”
The battle between the keepers is set to heat up in the coming months ahead of Hodgson making his World Cup selections.
Ruddy is currently well placed for keeping his place in Hodgson’s squad, as only five keepers have kept more clean sheets than him in the Premier League this season, despite City’s mixed season.
The former Everton man has kept nine clean sheets and played every minute of City’s 26 league matches so far this season, conceding 39 goals.
Only Cardiff City’s David Marshall, another former Norwich player, has conceded more (43) so far but the pair have also had to face the most shots in the Premier League this season.
Scottish stopper Marshall has had 449 shots fired at him and Ruddy 412, both considerably more than the next highest, Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan with 340.
It is sure to be a close-fought battle between Forster, Ruddy and Foster for the two spots supporting Hart, but the Celtic star is confident he is in with a good shot.
“I’ve obviously read Peter Shilton’s comments but, in my eyes, I got the opportunity to get into the England squad through being at Celtic and my first England cap while playing for Celtic,” Forster continued.
“So I don’t see it being a problem playing in Scotland. International football is obviously a step up in level, but that is the case whatever league you’re playing in.
“I’m convinced that I can make it to the World Cup. You’ve got to be. I would love to be on that plane. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of a World Cup finals in Brazil.
“It would be something special and a fantastic way to finish the season. But you can only do what you can do, play as well as I can for Celtic and hope that is enough in the end.
“I have to continue to put the performances in here and hope everything else takes care of itself. If you’re playing as well as you can for your club, then that will be watched and noted.”