One of the most talked about men in football this past week has been Celtic shot stopper Fraser Forster. Not only has he been linked with a summer move to Barcelona after yet another impressive Champions League performance, but many have argued that he is the man to start at Wembley in England's next qualifiers.
It's hard to argue against Forster's right to an England start, especially after the contrasting week of Joe Hart, England's current number one.
After mistakes against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich, which cost Manchester City vital points in the Premier League and Europe, Hart's place in the England team has been seriously questioned. While City managed to see off Everton on Saturday with a 3-1 win, Hart was again unconvincing as Romelu Lukaku's shot bounced off his arm and in.
Although Hart has certainly been in poor form of late, Forster's claim is more about his successes than the recent failures of his rival.
Forster has been quietly brilliant in Celtic's goal since he joined the Glasgow club in 2010 on loan from Newcastle. Now officially a Celtic player after a £2 million 2012 move, Forster is into his fourth season at the club and is a much improved player.
He was heroic in the club's march to the Champions League Last 16 last season and has been just as fantastic this season, even if the club have yet to pick up a point. He was in top form last Tuesday against Barcelona and could do nothing about Cesc Fàbregas' header, while he played well in the 2-0 loss at Milan and could only possibly be criticised for the second goal, where he parried a Mario Balotelli free-kick into the path of Sulley Muntari who scored. Most keepers, however, wouldn't even have saved the initial Balotelli strike.
His performances at Europe's highest level have apparently attracted interest from Barcelona, says Catalan newspaper Sport. Victor Valdes will leave the Camp Nou next season and Forster is being touted as an £8.5m replacement.
Roy Hodgson also has to make a choice on whether or not he wants Forster as his starter. His decision is much more urgent than that of the Catalans as England play their final two World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland this month.
All signs, however, suggest that Hodgson will go with the experience of Hart in the two matches at Wembley, saying: "Fraser has got a great future but it would be a mistake to suggest that he should be given the responsibility of these two vitally important games."
That assessment may be a little unfair. Forster has been trusted enough to play against the likes of Barcelona and has rewarded his club with top performances. With Barcelona players, such as Dani Alves, now putting their faith in the Englishman and calling for him to join their team next season, it seems harsh to suggest that Forster isn't up to the responsibility of two games against (no offence to Montenegro and Poland) two of international footballs less threatening sides.
If Forster is to get an England chance then now is the time. The games for England will only get tougher and more important if they make it to the World Cup. So why not test him just now in two very winnable home games?
If going on current form, there is no question as to who should start. Forster had a good Champions League midweek, while Hart had a horrible one. Hart again lost out on a clean sheet domestically this weekend due to his own error while Celtic won at home 2-0.
John Sutton had a great opportunity for a late consolation goal at Celtic Park in that game. Another world class save from Fraser Forster denied Motherwell even that...
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/130seMa
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms