Hodgson: Record-breaker Fraser Forster well in frame for England place

The Rio Report

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England manager Roy Hodgson has boosted Fraser Forster's hopes of earning a World Cup place as the Celtic goalkeeper closes in Edwin van der Sar's British record of 1,311 minutes without conceding.

Forster broke former Aberdeen keeper Bobby Clark's 43-year old-record of 1,155 minutes without conceding in Saturday's 2-0 over Hearts at Tynecastle, but faces a testing evening against Aberdeen on Tuesday night at Pittodrie to maintain his bid to overhaul Van der Sar set back in 2009.

Forster stands at 1,215 minutes and 13 league matches without losing a goal, but needs to keep a clean sheet this evening and go not concede in the opening seven minutes against Inverness at Celtic Park on Saturday to break the record.

Aberdeen completed a 2-1 win over Celtic in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup a fortnight ago, and are chasing a unique double of the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup in one season.

"I am really pleased for Fraser," said Hodgson. "It is a great achievement and he deserves it because he has been playing very well.

"Celtic are also doing really well and they are sweeping aside everyone they meet and that is good for Fraser.

"I think it will take some time before this very important record is beaten again.

"I certainly expect Fraser to hold it for several years to come. You can only congratulate him on what is a terrific achievement and a record, of course, that is still running.

"It would be another great achievement if he could beat Van der Sar’s record but knowing Fraser and Neil Lennon, like I do, the most important thing for those two will not be individual plaudits but winning football matches for Celtic,’ added Hodgson.

"I can’t imagine Neil Lennon playing eight or nine men in defence to help Fraser Forster get a shut-out record.

"But he is obviously good enough to break Edwin’s record and he also has good enough players in front of him to help him do it."

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Ben Foster of West Bromwich Albion are favourites to be selected for two goalkeeping positions which would leave Forster battling with Norwich's John Ruddy and Jack Butland of Leeds United for the final spot.

But it was Hodgson who handed Forster his England debut in the 2-0 defeat to Chile last year.

Forster was blameless for both goals, and Hodgson remains keen on the ability of the former Newcastle goalkeeper, who has excelled in the Champions League particularly against Barcelona over the past two seasons.

"Joe Hart and Ben Foster are playing well for their teams, as is Fraser, John Ruddy at Norwich and young Jack Butland also," commented Hodgson.

"We are not short of goalkeepers and it will be a difficult choice to make when I have to name my three for the World Cup.

"Joe Hart is in pole position because he has played in all the games. Before I start changing that, somebody will need to really work hard because Joe is a proven No 1 for England.

"‘There is a lot of competition for the two other positions and I will be looking on with great interest to see what happens between now and May when I have to name my squad for Brazil."

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