A crucial aspect of the season just past was the form of goalkeeper, Fraser Forster. Fraser has been Celtic’s first choice goalkeeper since joining on loan from Newcastle United as a 22-year-old but his deal was only made permanent 11 months ago, when he was secured for a fee reported as £2m.
Now 25, the keeper has enjoyed a dream campaign. Celtic’s major achievements this season were winning the league and qualifying for the Champions League group stage, but for Fraser more than anyone else at the club, that night against Barcelona produced an outstanding personal performance. La Gran Muralla had arrived.
Now a regular member of the England international squad, Fraser is the identikit of what Celtic are about right now. Scout players with potential and provide them with the opportunity to mature to Champions League standard. The added bonus of picking Rangers International’s partner-investor, Sports Direct’s pocket makes the deal sweeter.
Fraser has it all: presence, fast reflexes and an instinct for angles, but the most important item in a keeper’s armoury is a relationship with a rock solid defence. Celtic demonstrated they could deliver on this front on Champions League duty, until they faced Juventus, but the picture has been far less convincing in the SPL.
The most striking aspect of Fraser is his sheer physical size. His 6’7” he fills the goal frame, considerably reducing the space between keeper and post at penalty kicks, which his stats are well above average for.
Fraser was disappointed not to be included in the England squad for friendly games against Ireland and Brazil over the next week but Roy Hodgson will be mindful that Celtic have a shorter summer break than any other club he will be following, and Fraser will need some break-time before preseason starts in around three weeks. This is good squad management. The keeper is likely to make his full England debut as his country prepare for the 2014 World Cup, leading to a whole raft of revised comments on the Scottish game.
Have you bought a raffle ticket for the framed Celtic top signed by the Seville squad? It costs you £1, or £10 for 10!! All to benefit the 125415 campaign, aligning Celtic with our 125-year-old heritage.
Not only that, but………….
We have a framed Messi top signed by the great player who was able to breach La Gran Muralla after 183 minutes trying, available for auction. It’s not often you can buy such a memento of the world’s greatest footballer, and help Celtic charities too.
Willie Wallace, Heart of a Lion, available below.