Fraser Forster has hinted that he may be forced to leave Celtic in an attempt to strengthen his international prospects ahead of the World Cup in Brazil next year.
Forster, 25, first joined the club on loan from Newcastle in 2010, before the Scottish champions struck a permanent deal with the Magpies for a fee in the region of £2 million in 2012.
Following some impressive displays last term, Roy Hodgson rewarded the goalkeeper with a call-up to the England squad in October and again in March for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
Still yet to win his first international cap, however, he was left out of Hodgson’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.
And Forster has now suggested that he may need to move south of the border as he attempts to regain his position in the England squad.
“It’s a tough one,” he told the Evening Chronicle. “Celtic have been fantastic for me and this season couldn’t have gone much better, both personally and as a team. But it’s disappointing not to be in this England squad. I’ve got to be looking towards the World Cup next year and trying to be on that plane. So I’ll just have to do whatever is necessary to make that squad.
“I’ve got quite a while left on my contract here, and if we can get through the Champions League qualifiers - which will be tough - to get in the group stage again would be something special. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
While Forster admits it was a real blow to miss out on an England call-up, he is determined to see the positives and use them to his advantage when the new season starts.
“I didn’t get an explanation as to why I was left out this time, although I haven’t spoken to anyone at England. It’s just one of those things," he said. "We haven’t got that long off in the summer anyway, so you just have to take the positives out of it. I’ll get a good rest and come back next season raring to go. My plan is to go away and get some sunshine and relax. It’s been a very long season. Was it a body-blow not to be in the squad? Well, yes. That’s where you want to be.
“Having had a taste of being in an England squad before and after Christmas, that’s what you’re aiming for. Once you’ve been in, you want to be in every time. It’s a World Cup year and World Cups in Brazil don’t come around very often. That would be something special. I’ll just have to do whatever I can to force my way on to that plane.”
Forster, who has earned rave reviews for his performances in the Champions League, was delighted with how the 2012-13 campaign went at Celtic, although he says he has “unfinished business” with his hometown club Newcastle.
“It’s been brilliant at Celtic,” he said. “It’s been a very long season but we’ve done well on all fronts. We wrapped the league up early doors and had this final to look forward to, so it’s nice to get the job done.
“The exposure from the Champions League this season helped a lot of us. That’s where you’ve got to test yourself against the best players in the world. We’ll want to do well next year, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
“I’m a Newcastle fan and I’ve got unfinished business there. It was a wrench to leave because it’s my hometown club. But it wasn’t meant to be.”