Monday 23 April 2018

Celtic's Forster focused on Champions League status

CELTIC goalkeeper Fraser Forster hopes to once again use the Champions League to keep himself in England contention.

The imposing shot-stopper forced his way into Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad this summer, having come to prominence through a pair of virtuoso displays against Barcelona in Europe two seasons ago and continued his form consistently with the Hoops.

This season's continental campaign begins with tomorrow night's second qualifying round first leg against KR Reykjavik in Iceland.

Forster said: "Playing in the Champions League has definitely been good for me in terms of exposure. But it's been good for all of us and for the club too.

"We've all seen how big the Champions League nights are and it would be nice to get back in the group stages but Reykjavik will be a tough away game and we need to play as well as we know we can."

Forster did not get to sample the action in Brazil, with Manchester City's Joe Hart the established first choice and Ben Foster getting the nod for the dead rubber against Costa Rica.

But the 26-year-old is determined it will not be his last taste of tournament football and has Euro 2016 in France as his next target.

"One of my goals last season was to try to get into that squad and I was delighted to achieve that," he said. "The Euros are now only a couple of years away so I'm already setting my sights on that."

Forster was not the only Celtic player to travel to the World Cup, with defenders Efe Ambrose and Emilio Izaguirre key figures for Nigeria and Honduras respectively.

And new coach Ronny Deila is expecting all three to play a key role tomorrow.

Deila said: "All our players who are at the World Cup are ready to play in this game. Fraser, Efe and Emilio have all come straight from the World Cup so, of course, they are ready to play.

"Everyone is available for this match and we want to put as strong a team as we possibly can on to the pitch."

One exception to that is captain Scott Brown, who will miss up to three months of the season with a serious hamstring tear.

New signing Craig Gordon joins Lukasz Zaluska in providing competition for Forster.

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