Why Celtic should hold onto main goalkeeper Fraser Forster
According to Scottish Sun, Celtic legend Pat Bonner has urged Hoops manager Neil Lennon to keep hold of first-choice keeper Fraser Forster.
32-year-old Forster is currently on a season-long loan at Celtic Park from parent club Southampton. He has done an impressive job in goal for Lennon’s side, helping them to first place in the league table.
However, Forster’s loan-deal will end this June and former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper and Celtic legend Bonner feels that the club’s priority should be to extend Forster’s stay. He also suggested that if possible, they should try to sign him permanently as the side will definitely need a quality keeper to stay at the top.
Meanwhile, the Hoops face a huge challenge ahead of next season, with second-keeper Craig Gordon also nearing the end of his current contract at Celtic Park. Gordon’s deal is set to expire at the end of May this year and if both him and Forster depart, Celtic will be left with no option but their third-choice man Scott Bain and rookies Conor Hazard and Ross Doohan as the only options.
Losing out on the two veterans would put Lennon and his side on a massive recruitment challenge as Bain is clearly not one of the top keepers around. Also, since his move to Celtic in 2017, the Scotsman has failed to establish himself as a regular within the side. So far he has played 46 matches and has 28 clean sheets to his name.
This season alone, he appeared eight times for Lennon’s side and has kept three clean sheets. Main keeper Forster, on the other hand, has been a stand-out performer with 14 clean sheets from 28 league games.
He is currently the joint leader alongside Rangers keeper Allan McGregor in terms of the number of clean sheets in the Premiership this season. However, McGregor has played one match less than Forster.
Still, that does not rule out Forster’s role in Celtic’s superb success in the league that has seen them concede just 19 goals in the league. A former Premier League regular, the 32-year-old Forster was having a tough time last season that saw him fall down the pecking order at Southampton this year.
The emergence of youngster Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy pushed Forster to the reserves, with the seasoned custodian finally earning himself a move to Scotland in order to get more game time.
Forster seems to have once again revived his career with exemplary performances in between the sticks for Celtic. That said, Celtic would be foolish to lose such an experienced campaigner, who over the years has guarded the post in one of the toughest leagues.
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With Celtic facing an uncertain future regarding the availability of keepers, they should try their best to hold onto main-man Forster. Having excelled in his maiden spell, there is no questioning his talent. Hence, manager Lennon should pay heed to Celtic legend Bonner and tie him to the club either permanently or on loan.