Neil Lennon urges Fraser Forster to stay in ‘moment’
Celtic manager feels goalkeeper’s form deserves England call-up
Neil Lennon: would bite your hand off for a point against Ajax in Amsterdam tonight.
AJAX v CELTIC, Amsterdam Arena, 7.45pm,
Setanta, Sky Sports 4
Amid the rising sense that Fraser Forster’s international time has come, his club manager has urged the goalkeeper to turn his flirtation with the England number one jersey into a long-term relationship.
Forster’s excellent form, particularly in Europe, coupled with Joe Hart’s troubles, seem to have created the perfect storm for the Celtic custodian.
Neil Lennon believes Forster will be handed a first cap by Roy Hodgson in the upcoming matches against Chile and Germany, with the Football Association sending a scout to watch Forster in Amsterdam.
“Three years ago there is no way you would have envisaged Fraser being in the England squad,” Lennon said.
“But he has just improved year in and year out. I have said this to him already. I said, ‘You have just got to stay in the moment now’.
“Just keep this form going at this level and I can’t see him not being picked for one of the friendlies coming up.”
Forster’s presence in a Celtic shirt has been pivotal to Lennon’s hopes of guiding his team to the last 16 for the second year in a row. The summer sales of Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama impacted on Celtic’s strength. Hooper, most pertinently, doesn’t look to have been adequately replaced.
“It has been a lot more difficult,” Lennon conceded. “But we have come up to the plate so far.”
Yet after beating Ajax 2-1 in Glasgow a fortnight ago, Celtic know a repeat result and a win over Milan in their penultimate group match should be enough to send them through.
Publicly, though, Lennon is cautious. “There is a lot of confidence in the team but we don’t want to be overconfident,” Lennon said.
“I don’t want to get carried away. I would snap your hand off for a point but we know this team is capable of winning – and we know this team is capable of losing.
“We have to strike a balance on how we approach this game.”