Scotland vs England: Fraser Forster wants different taste of Parkhead roar

Goalkeeper enjoyed four successful seasons at Celtic

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Fraser Forster knows what it means to be a hero at Celtic Park and is thrilled at the prospect of experiencing the famous Parkhead roar from the other side.

With Joe Hart rested by Roy Hodgson, either Forster or Ben Foster will start Tuesday night’s friendly against Scotland. Even beyond the prospect of his third England cap, it would be especially meaningful for Forster to take the field. The Southampton  goalkeeper enjoyed four successful seasons at Celtic, winning three league titles, two cups, playing in the Champions League and famously overwhelming Barcelona on an emotional night in 2012, Forster’s favourite memory of his time in Glasgow.

That Barcelona team – Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and company – conquered Europe and the world twice, yet they told Forster that Celtic Park was the best atmosphere they had experienced. Champions League nights are special, of course, but so are games between England and Scotland. Even though Tuesday's game is technically a friendly the atmosphere will be more testing than anything England have faced for some time.

“It would be a fantastic opportunity if I do get to play,” Forster said after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Slovenia. “It will be a fantastic atmosphere and to play in a Scotland-England game would be a dream  come true.

“It is an unbelievable atmosphere [at Celtic Park]. I’ve only sampled it at club level, but the Barcelona players said it was the best atmosphere they’d ever played in, when we played them in the Champions League. It tells you how unique it was.”

Forster, 26, has not returned to Glasgow since leaving Celtic for St Mary’s in the summer but the place still means a great deal to him. “It will be good to go back to Celtic Park,” he said. “I’ve got fantastic memories of being there. It will be a special night.”

Former Newcastle United trainee Forster learned quickly at Celtic – he was first choice from the age of 22 – and England coach Hodgson praised his mindset on Saturday evening.

“His strengths are his  maturity, really,” Hodgson said. “He showed that maturity at Celtic. For a young man he’s had plenty of games and plenty of Champions League games.”

 

Both Forster and Foster accept that Hart is the established No 1 and this game will be an important indicator of who is next in line.

“It would be nice to play any game for England,” said Foster, 31, the West Bromwich Albion keeper, who won the first of his eight caps in February 2007. “The same goes for Fraser. When you’re sat on the bench watching you’re always thinking that you want to be playing. But fair play to Joe, I think he is cemented as England’s No 1 now. He’s a fantastic guy and we’re lucky to have him.”

The spirit among the goalkeepers is strong; both Forster and Foster speak very warmly of Hart. “It’s frustrating at times,” Foster said, “but you know the score and that’s why we got on so well and keep getting selected in the squad together. We all know the roles and it’s as simple  as that.”

Forster echoed the same sentiments. He admires Hart, but would love the chance to perform on Tuesday.

“It’s fantastic to be part of the squad,” he said. “Joe’s a top, top keeper. Me and Ben know that. We see him in training every day. But we’ve got a fantastic group. We work really hard and bring the best out of each other. We all want to show what we can do.”

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