Ex-England and Southampton goalkeeper Peter Shilton believes Celtic shot-stopper Fraser Forster needs to test himself, and sees his former club as the ideal place to do so.
Having come up through Newcastle United’s youth system, Forster spent consecutive season-long loan spells at Celtic in 2010-11 and 2011-12, before moving to the Scottish champions on a permanent deal in June 2012 for £2 million.
Breaking into the England set up in late-2012, the 2-times capped international was a part of the World Cup squad this summer and, having been linked with a move to Southampton in recent weeks, Shilton believes a return down south is needed to progress his career at this point.
‘I think Fraser Forster definitely has a little bit more improvement in him,’ he told Sky Sports News Radio. ‘He’s a big lad who’s been at a great football club, but in a league where I don’t know whether he’s tested enough.
‘Ok, he’s played in the Champions League, but maybe only a couple of rounds, and that’s it.
‘I think overall he’s got natural ability and that crucial confidence, and he’d certainly grow in the Premier League.’
Having appeared in 195 games for Celtic over four seasons, new Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has earmarked Forster to be his long-term number one, with current first-choice Artur Boruc aged 34 and under contract for one more season.
However, the Scottish club recently rejected what they labelled a ‘derisory’ bid from the Premier League side, originally said to be £7.5 million, but in fact reportedly well below that figure at £3.5 million.
The Saints however are ready to make a new offer for the 26-year-old, but it’s expected a fee of at least 10 million would be needed to secure his services.
Whether a move to the South Coast would indeed see Forster further grow his game and perhaps even prise the England job from Joe Hart remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Celtic will not give up their 6ft 7in keeper without a fight, with Koeman needing to stump up the cash to land the promising Three Lions option.