Sport Soccer

Sunday 18 February 2018

Forster pushing for Rio starting spot – Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

Roddy Forsyth

Fraser Forster's breakthrough into the England team may count as one of Neil Lennon's managerial achievements, but it is the player who deserves the credit, according to the Celtic boss.

The Hoops 'keeper has not yet had sufficient international game time to establish himself as an authentic England No 1 – Forster made his debut in last week's defeat by Chile at Wembley, where he was cleared of culpability for both goals in a 2-0 defeat – but Lennon reiterated his belief that the man who was third choice for Newcastle when he moved to Scotland will keep getting better.

"It's down to him. He certainly has huge desire to improve and has taken the opportunity and maximised everything," said Lennon, whose players are at home to Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership today (kick-off 3.0).

Lennon added that Forster's appearance at Wembley should be a significant help in banishing the patronising attitude to the Scottish game which persists among some circles in England.

"That taboo has been firmly laid to rest," he said. "It is up to him to stay in that vein of form and keep pushing Joe Hart. Joe is rightly England's No 1 because he played through the qualifying campaign, but all Fraser can do is keep the competitiveness there."

Another player who has advanced his reputation considerably at Celtic is Scott Brown, but the captain is banned for three Champions League games for a flick of the boot at Barcelona's Neymar, and he did the same thing to Vegard Forren during Scotland's 1-0 friendly win against Norway this week.

"I don't want to lose that devil in him because it is part of his make-up. If you take that away then you end up with a robot," said Lennon. "It's unnecessary and I can tell him 100,000 times not to do it, but he has to find that self-control." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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