FRASER FORSTER has gained another formidable ally in his battle to be included in England's squad for the World Cup finals.
Former Republic of Ireland keeper Shay Given believes the Celtic shot-stopper should be named - along with Joe Hart and Ben Foster - when Roy Hodgson picks his 23 for Brazil.
Given is perfectly placed to judge the competition for places. He has won 125 caps for the Republic and represented his country at the finals of both the World Cup and the European Championships.
Given started his senior career with the Hoops before being released and moving to England where he shot to prominence with Newcastle - Forster's first club - and quickly became considered one of the best keepers of his generation. He was also No.1 at Manchester City before the arrival of Joe Hart, Hodgson's first choice.
The 37-year-old is now back at Aston Villa after a loan spell at Middlesbrough, and accepts the England boss has an array to talent from which to select his trio.
Forster had hoped he would get some of the midweek friendly against Denmark in which to remind the national manager what he could do. But, in the end, Hart played all of the match, leaving the Hoops hero, Foster and John Ruddy to look on from the bench.
The 30-man squad named for this match was considered the provisional pool for the finals.
One of the four keepers will drop out, but Given is convinced the man to be omitted should NOT be Forster. He said: "There is a good lot of keepers to pick from. I'd go with Joe Hart, Ben Foster and Fraser Forster.
"A lot of people might forget about Fraser at Celtic, but he has just broken the Scottish record for clean sheets. He has had a phenomenal season. We have also seen him in the Champions League, especially against the big clubs like Barcelona, and he was nicknamed the Human Wall. He is a top keeper."
Given believes Hodgson missed a golden opportunity to give those vying for inclusion a chance to gain vital experience when he played Hart for the entire match against the Danes.
He said: "Joe is the out-and-out No.1, and he will want to play as many games as he can leading up to the World Cup.
"But I think Roy should have played Fraser, John, or Ben because, if something happened to Joe in the summer or he got injured in the first game, then it is a big ask for one of these other keepers who maybe hasn't played many times."
After a brief retirement from international football, Given has made himself available again to Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane and would love the chance to play in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland at Celtic Park in November.