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EX-CELTS’ PLEDGE

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FRASER FORSTER has joined Virgil van Dijk in pledging his future to Southampton.
The former Celtic double-act have agreed long-term extensions to their contracts at the south-coast club.
English international keeper Forster, who cost the Saints £10million from the Hoops two years ago, has just penned a five-year deal.
And Dutch centre-half Van Dijk, who was signed for £13million last summer, has signed until 2021.
European Championships-bound Forster, 28, said: “I’m delighted. It’s been another good year for the club and I believe there is real ambition here.”
Meanwhile, classy defender Van Dijk believes boss Ronald Koeman’s constant criticism is making him a better player at Southampton.
The 24-year-old ace has just won the fans’ and team-mates’ Player of the Year awards and has thanked his fellow-Dutchman for his part in his improvement.
He said: “The manager was an amazing player unspecified-39himself. I never saw him play live, but obviously I’ve seen clips and know the stories.
“But, yeah, I can learn from him every day and that’s what I definitely do.

“He gives me confidence and he wants to get the maximum out of me and that’s something very positive for me.
“The boss is very critical of me, hard on me, so he wants me to do better, even smaller details. I think that’s a very good sign. I am very glad he is doing that, as well.”Criticism in the early part of the season related to the player’s lapses in concentration and Van Dijk admitted there were a few “dodgy” moments.The player, who cost Celtic £2.6million when he signed from Groningen in June 2013, scored 15 goals for the Parkhead side, but has claimed only three for the Saints and that has left him frustrated.

He added: “I am very hard on myself, too. I need to score a couple more this season.”With my height and ability to head the ball at free-kicks, for example, is something I didn’t show this year and I need to do a lot better. It is something to work on.”Van Dijk will get a chance to add to this campaign’s tally when Crystal Palace arrive in today’s season finale, when a fourth straight win could see the St Mary’s outfit finish as high as fifth.

A win against the Londoners and a defeat for West against Stoke City will mean the Saints qualify for the Europa League.He added: “It is going to be an all-in game for us. We want to win and, hopefully, it is going to happen with good football and a lot of goals.”
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