Much like Henry Kissinger, David Hasselhoff and Nando’s co-founders Fernando Duarte and Robert Brozin, Fraser Forster is in the unusual position of being revered more in foreign climes than in his homeland.
While English onlookers refuse to accept that a great player could reside in the Scottish Premiership, some of the world’s best footballers have scouted Celtic’s shot-stopper from a 100-yard radius in the Champions League and been seduced.
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The king custodian of the 21st century had Forster on his radar even before Juventus faced Celtic in the Champions League, observing last December that “I watch all the top young goalkeepers in the world and I’m sure he can become one of them”.
He has been even more effusive since their round-of-16 showdown, so in awe that he felt compelled to adopt an advisory role for Roy Hodgson. “If the England coach is picking his team on form then Fraser is his only option.”
What could Xavi add to a debate about goalkeepers that Buffon couldn’t? Well, the Juve number one wouldn’t tell his club to replace him with Forster, but an impending goalmouth vacancy at Barcelona affords the Catalan conductor that luxury.
Forster’s efforts against Barca led Spain’s media to label him “The Great Wall”, and his opponents were evidently as captivated as the journalists. Xavi said: “He has everything to succeed at a club like Barcelona… I am sure there will be more than one big club interested in him.”
The top-scoring Chilean taking to Wembley’s turf also owns all the paraphernalia required for a seat on the Forster hype bus, doubting his own 11/4-rated chances of firing past the 25-year-old and paying him an unusual compliment.
He said this week: “Fraser is a keeper who is good with his feet. He is a complete player and it will be difficult to score against him.”