Friday 13 December 2019

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman backs Fraser Forster's Euro 2016 prospects

Ronald Koeman, pictured, believes Fraser Forster can make it back in the England team for June
Ronald Koeman, pictured, believes Fraser Forster can make it back in the England team for June

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman hopes goalkeeper Fraser Forster can get back to his best in time for Euro 2016.

The 27-year-old England goalkeeper returned to the starting line-up for Saints in their 2-0 win over Watford in the Premier League on Wednesday after being out with a serious knee injury since last March.

Asked if Forster could now force his way back into Roy Hodgson's plans for the tournament in France in the summer, Koeman said: "I hope so. He was part of the national team and he was out for a long time.

"He will get the chances if he plays at this level and I think it is not too difficult for him. He is back and he played his first 90 minutes for the first team, the clean sheet is important for goalkeepers, important for the defenders. That makes him mentally stronger than he already was so it was a good match for Fraser."

Southampton have scored six and conceded none in their last two home games in the Premier League but Koeman knows they will have a tough time against West Brom.

He said: "In the last two home games we have created a lot of chances, four goals against Arsenal is a big result, last Wednesday (against Watford), the team performance was very good.

"We need that level against West Brom, it's a difficult game for us.

"In the last three matches (against the Baggies) we haven't scored any goals against them and because they are strong and very well organised it is tough to beat and tough to score goals."

In the game against Watford, Koeman chose to change his system from the usual 4-2-3-1 to five at the back with three centre-halves to deal with Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo and the Dutch manager believes it is important to be able to change the style of play in a team.

Koeman said: "We played different than the normal system, I think it's good to change it sometimes. It makes it difficult for the opponents and if you have players who can play out of that system then you can change.

"We have our own system to play but sometimes the situation asks you to change something and (on Saturday) we will see.

"It's all about winning, I wasn't unhappy about the performances of the team.

"I think most of the games we lost, we played our level but the win against Watford was a difficult question."

Victor Wanyama is back in contention for Southampton.

The 24-year-old midfielder is available again after suspension following his red card against Norwich but Koeman was not giving anything away as to whether he will start.

The Saints' manager has no fresh injury worries ahead of the game but Gaston Ramirez is still out with a hamstring injury and Florian Gardos remains on the sidelines with a knee problem.

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