Belfast Telegraph

Forster enjoying life at Saints

Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw may have left Southampton in the summer, but Fraser Forster credits the England trio for helping him take up the "fantastic opportunity" to move to St Mary's.

Saints endured a summer of upheaval, with manager Mauricio Pochettino swiftly followed out of the door by a host of key players.

Lallana, Lambert and Dejan Lovren all joined Liverpool, while Shaw moved to Manchester United and Calum Chambers left for Arsenal. In the wake of the exodus l eading bookmakers dramatically cut the odds on the south coast side being relegated.

But, even though the season may still be in its infancy, such talk already looks wide of the mark, with Tuesday's 2-1 Capital One Cup win at Arsenal making it five successive wins in all competitions.

That form sees Ronald Koeman's men sit second in the Barclays Premier League, with the Dutchman making light work of blending in eight summer acquisitions.

"The atmosphere in the training room is something really special," summer signing Forster said. "There is a real kind of togetherness. Everyone is a great lad.

"As soon as you walk in the door you're made to feel really welcome, that is key when you come to a new club, everyone helps you settle.

"There is that real togetherness and that eagerness for the players to perform and to help each other out. We've all settled really quickly.

"It's been a great start, but it's only a start and it's important we keep moving forward."

Forster left behind Champions League football with Celtic to move south of the border, with the £10million deal making him the most expensive British goalkeeper of all-time.

He insists the move was not related to ambitions of usurping Joe Hart as England's number one, but instead more about the chance to try his hand at top-flight football in his homeland.

"For me, it's important to come down and play Premier League football," Forster said. "Just to come and do as well as I can for Southampton, first and foremost.

"I felt it was the right time and it was a fantastic opportunity and one that I could never have turned down.

"It's a fantastic club to play for and everyone said that. I spoke to Adam Lallana quite a lot in the summer and as soon as the opportunity arose he was very complimentary about the club and said I'd love it.

"I'm delighted that was the choice I made. It's important that I play well week by week and see where it takes me."

Lallana, Shaw and Lambert all spoke glowingly about Saints, with the latter's success something he would love to replicate.

"Five years ago me and Rickie were at Bristol Rovers," Forster said. "It's been good to be at a World Cup together five years on.

"He's a top player. He sums up what you can do at this club. He's really performed well. He's been an absolute legend for this club coming up through the divisions.

"I can't speak highly enough of the England boys who were here last season and they have not got a bad word to say about the place. They will be the first ones to say what a fantastic club it is to play for."

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