- POSTED: 05 Oct 2013 10:04
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Celtic manager Neil Lennon is in no doubt goalkeeper Fraser Forster could do a job for England after the shot-stopper was linked with a move to Barcelona.
GLASGOW: Celtic manager Neil Lennon is in no doubt goalkeeper Fraser Forster could do a job for England after the shot-stopper was linked with a move to Barcelona.
Forster impressed against the Spanish giants with several fine saves in Celtic's 1-0 Champions League loss at Parkhead on Tuesday.
That prompted Barcelona defender Dani Alves to say Forster, included in England's squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland, could replace Victor Valdes when he leaves the Catalan club next year.
"I don't want to stop the speculation," said Lennon. "I want him to keep playing well and if an opportunity like that arises then who am I to stand in his way?
"Opportunities like that come once in a lifetime.
"It is just fantastic that people are talking about him in this fashion although I hope it is not short-termism.
"I want it to be for the long term. Short term, he is here with us and thriving."
England manager Roy Hodgson has indicated he intends to stand by first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart despite some recent unconvincing displays for club and country including a poor showing for Manchester City in their 3-1 Champions League defeat by title-holders Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Lennon said he was confident Forster could step up but understood why Hodgson was keeping faith with Hart.
"Fraser has been playing brilliantly in huge games for the last two-and-a-half years," he said.
"It is a shame that it has to take Champions League performances for everyone to sit up and take notice.
"His character and temperament is excellent and he has the talent."
Lennon added: "He makes saves that not many keepers can make and he has improved every year since he came here.
"It is brilliant for him, great recognition and testament to his talent that he is playing his club football in Scotland and he is knocking on the door for the England number one spot.
"I understand Roy's view. Joe is his number one and there are two crucial qualifiers coming up.
"Fraser has to stay in the place he is in and keep pushing.
"But has Joe played badly for England? He maybe had a bad night in midweek but Joe is a world-class goalkeeper. What he has now is stiff competition.
"While I am waxing lyrical about Fraser, there are days he can't keep the ball out of the net and they (goalkeepers) all have bad days."