FRASER FORSTER has revealed why he snubbed the opportunity to return to Celtic in the summer.
The six times-capped England international keeper looked certain to come back for the Hoops historic bid for ten successive titles.
Talks were apparently advanced to rubberstamp the loan switch and Craig Gordon was allowed to leave at the end of his contract to rejoin Hearts in the Championship.
Unexpectedly, though, fans’ favourite Forster turned his back on the Parkhead club to fight for the No.1 position at Southampton where he had dropped the third in the pecking order behind Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn.
The 32-year-old skyscraper shotstopper, who had also been linked with a surprise switch to Chelsea who instead bought Edouard Mendy from Rennes, didn’t play a solitary minute in the Saints’ first team in 2019 before making his return in the 1-0 win over Liverpool at St Mary’s on Monday evening.
With Gunn agreeing a season-long switch to Stoke City, Forster stepped in when regular McCarthy was ruled out following testing positive for coronavirus.
After the victory over Jurgen Klopp’s English champions, the 6ft-plus netminder, speaking to the Daily Echo, admitted: “It’s been a strange few years, it’s been a tough few years
“Obviously, it’s a club I love a lot. I had some fantastic times here in the past and I’ve always been keen to come back and try and play here.
“That’s all I wanted to do in the summer. I wanted to come back and give it a go and everyone’s been fantastic with me since I’ve been back.
“But, obviously, the team has been doing well and Al’s been doing well, so it’s just important I can help the team and the club in any way I can.
“I train hard, work hard, try and help the team any way I can when I’m not playing.
“You never know what’s going to happen – injuries happen and with Covid people can be ruled out, so you’ve just got to be ready for when you do play.”
The Hoops hoped to have solved their No.1 problem with a £4.5million move for AEK Athens’ Vasilis Barkas, but he has been unconvincing since his arrival. Scott Bain and Conor Hazard have also been brought in and Hoops fans can only wonder at what-might-have-been if Forster had been lured back to Glasgow.