Alan Pardew admits he wanted to keep Fraser Forster at Newcastle United, but couldn’t offer him the first team football he so craved.
The 25-year-old initially linked up with his boyhood club in 2005, but despite progressing from the Academy, he was never able to command a first team place. Indeed, due to the likes of Shay Given, Steve Harper and Tim Krul, coupled with a number of loan moves, the Hexham-born didn’t make a single appearance in the starting XI.
Forster instead built up his experienced with temporary spells at Stockport County, Bristol Rovers, Norwich City and Celtic. It was at Parkhead where he really shot to fame, spending two years in Scotland before eventually making the move permanent in 2012. He has since gone on to produce a number of impressive performances for the Bhoys, with his displays in the UEFA Champions League winning him many admirers.
Roy Hodgson is expected to use Forster in one of England’s friendly matches against either Chile or Germany over the course of the coming week, as the player looks to cement his place in the World Cup squad. As for Newcastle boss Pardew, he admits he didn’t want the 6ft 7in ace to leave St James’ Park in the first place, but due to the often-brilliant showings of Krul, he simply could offer him the regular football he needed.
“Let’s get one thing straight about Fraser, we didn’t want to lose him,” said the Magpies manager. “But he was absolutely adamant that he wanted first-team football and we couldn’t provide him with that. At the time, we just felt that Tim had the edge. Since then, there’s no doubt Fraser has progressed at Celtic. It was a great move for him because it’s opened the door to a lot of European football. He’s done terrific.
“We’re all chuffed for him because we really liked him as a guy. Unfortunately, it was just a case of the timing not really working out. I only had him for a short period, but he was always a confident guy, very assured about his ability. I think he’s a very intelligent boy and that will stand him in good stead if he is selected to play for England at some stage.”
Forster is under contract at Celtic until the summer of 2016, but had been linked with Benfica ahead of the current season. In more recent weeks he has been linked with Manchester City, which raises the possibility of him perhaps replacing Joe Hart for club and country, with the Blues goalkeeper suffering an alarming dip in form of late.