Fraser can be called upon now he's at the peak of his powers

There is one mountain Fraser Forster has still to conquer – but he is already scaling its heights.

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Forster earned praise from Celtic buddy Adam Matthews in yeserday's SportTimes
Forster earned praise from Celtic buddy Adam Matthews in yeserday's SportTimes

The giant goalkeeper has grown in stature and reputation since landing at Celtic from Newcastle, but for all the plaudits and back-slapping that have come with his displays for the Hoops this term, full international recognition has been slow to follow.

That honour could well come next week, though, when England play Sweden in a friendly, a game in which Roy Hodgson has already said he will ring the changes in order to take a closer look at players whom he'd like to see a little bit more of.

Manchester City keeper Joe Hart has unquestionably secured the gloves for the Three Lions, but since he is so entrenched in the team, it may be that the Hoops keeper is given a chance to show what he can do.

A dependable deputy has never quite been found, with John Ruddy, Jack Butland and Robert Green all in the frame.

Forster's performances in the Champions League, as close to international level as it is possible to get at club level, suggest he would bear up to scrutiny.

The 24-year-old, though, is wary of expecting too much next week when England go to Stockholm.

He was included in Hodgson's last England squad, which was lauded as an achievement in itself, but Forster would love the opportunity to get on to the pitch and get some game time.

"I'm an ambitious player and I do want to go as far as I can," he said.

"It's every player's aim to try and play for their country and at the top level, but I just have to wait and see what happens.

"I'm really enjoying things at the minute. It feels like there is a lot of hard work paying off and I'm loving playing football just now.

"Beating Barcelona was something special, but I want to keep that level of performance every week.

"I'm just trying to concentrate on Celtic at the minute, but of course I would love the chance to play for my country.

"We have to wait and see what happens. I don't want to get too immersed in thinking about that because my whole focus has to be with Celtic and what we are doing here."

While Neil Lennon's signing policy has been lauded for bringing in unknown talents such as Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama, it is the signing of Forster that may well prove to be one of the best bits of transfer business he has done.

For just £2million, the Englishman has been excellent and has silenced dissenters such as Alan Pardew, who dismissed the standard of the SPL and ruled out any suggestion of watching Forster when he was on loan at Celtic.

When he first arrived on loan from Newcastle, the keeper had big gloves to fill. Artur Boruc's sale had financed the rebuilding of the team and the void left by the Polish keeper was a substantial one.

Forster's first campaign looked to be one of slight apprehension, but he has become an imposing and commanding figure.

The biggest turning point for him seemed to come last December with a last-minute penalty stop against Hearts; he has grown ever since.

Just over a fortnight ago when Celtic lost to a last-minute goal in the Nou Camp, Forster was magnificent, but he topped that again with excellent saves on Wednesday.

"I was pleased with the saves and, of course, I think it is the night of my career so far," he said. "It is always nice to make saves – it's what my job is abut – but the one I was the most pleased about was in the first half.

"Messi took a quick shot that I got a fingertip to that pushed it on to the crossbar. The referee gave a goal kick, but I wasn't complaining.

"I was disappointed that he scored at the end and then it was a really nervous few minutes before the whistle blew.

"But I feel privileged to have been part of such a great night."

Next up for Celtic now is St Johnstone on Sunday, a game that Forster is cautious of.

He said: "The SPL is our priority. If we don't do well in there then we can't enjoy the kind of nights that we did against Barcelona.

"St Johnstone have already beaten us and we want to go into that game with the right attitude."

Sport

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