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Southampton manager praises goalkeeper Fraser Forster as contract extension decision looms

By Stephen Emerson
25 February 2022

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has praised Fraser Forster for adapting his game as the keeper awaits for a decision on his future.

The 33-year-old, who is reportedly on a £90,000 a week contract, will see his contract expire in the summer and faces competition for the number one spot from Alex McCarthy and Willy Caballero.

The former Celtic keeper has returned to the first team for the last eight games and put in some impressive performances.

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Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “It is something that everybody knows in this business.

“The season is very long, a lot of games coming up and a lot of things can happen during a season.

“You know you have to have alternatives in every position and this is absolutely crucial for being successful in the long term.

“He’s (Forster) an important part of our team. He has a very good standing in the team.

“We always knew he was a very good goalkeeper but what impressed me the most was that he was very open-minded about trying to develop his quality with the ball.

“When you see with him playing with the ball, his calmness and his composure, not in every moment, is getting better and better. Also his long balls are getting better and better.

“He invested so much time in improving this part of his game, like the other goalkeepers have done.

“For an older goalkeeper, this was a very important step because if you don’t improve your game, you won’t be able to compete in the future.

“That’s because the league and football is developing. The goalkeeper has a much wider spectrum of what you need to offer to the team. He can, and it’s good to see.”

Hasenhuttl said it was important to retain a number of strong goalkeeping options at the club and stressed the importance of "mindset" in his team.

“In modern football I think it happens to be two or three good goalkeepers at every club,” Hasenhuttl said.

“It was clear at the start of the season there would be a chance for everybody to show up and finally it is important that you have the right mindset - you care convinced about your quality and when you get the chance to play, you have to play well.

“It does not matter if you are 20 years old or 30, you have to work hard for a chance in the Premier League and if you get one, you have to take it.”

Fraser Forster spent six seasons at Newcastle United which featured numerous loan spells to clubs including Stockport County, Bristol Rovers and Norwich City before a loan move to Celtic was converted into a permanent move in 2012.

He moved to Southampton for a reported fee of £10m from Celtic and has gone to make 123 appearances for the St Mary's club.

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