Belfast Telegraph

Koeman praise for stand-in Davis

Ronald Koeman was full of praise for stand-in goalkeeper Kelvin Davis after the Southampton stalwart stepped in following an early injury to Fraser Forster.

England international Forster was carried off on a stretcher in the early moments of Saturday's 2-0 win over Burnley - with Koeman confirming the 27-year-old was taken to hospital for a scan on his knee.

Shane Long's third Premier League goal for Saints and a second-half own goal from Burnley skipper Jason Shackell was enough to keep Koeman's side in the hunt for a Champions League spot but it was Davis who will be hailed as the hero of the hour.

The 38-year-old may be Southampton's club captain but he had not tasted first-team football in over a year when he was called upon to replace the stricken Forster.

That did not stop the former Ipswich and Sunderland man producing a number of top quality saves, most noticeably from Sam Vokes and Danny Ings.

"Kelvin is a very experienced goalkeeper," said Koeman, who celebrated his 52nd birthday with another three points.

"He was looking very comfortable and confident and made two great saves. The Ings shot was a great save at a very important moment.

"It is difficult because it was a long time ago that he played. The positive thing is that he is an experienced goalkeeper. He wasn't nervous to come in, he looked comfortable and that is important for the defenders and the team organisation.

"He was joking after and said maybe they will take him to the national team."

Forster is one of only two goalkeepers named in Roy Hodgson's squad for the upcoming games against Lithuania and Italy but the England manager is likely to have to bring in reinforcements.

The former Celtic man was left in agony after clearing the ball under pressure from Vokes, and Koeman said the early signs suggest it could be a bad injury.

"I don't think so," the Dutchman replied when asked if Forster had a chance of being fit for international duty.

"He is now in the hospital and he is having a scan, we have to wait but it is not looking very positive about his knee. We have to wait for the scan but the doctor wasn't very positive. I was following the ball and I didn't see what happened."

Burnley, on the back of their 1-0 victory over champions Manchester City last weekend, created the best openings of the first half but their spirited fight waned after Shackell turned a Ryan Bertrand cross past Tom Heaton.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche felt his side were denied a clear penalty by referee Roger East as Jose Fonte challenged George Boyd moments after Davis' first spectacular save.

"It is impossible how we didn't get a penalty, I have seen it back," he said.

"It was certainly very surprising we didn't get a penalty. I don't mention it too often but that is the third one in a matter of weeks that we haven't had."

But it was the lack of a clinical edge in front of goal that Dyche believes cost his side a chance at getting out of the relegation zone and adding to the eight points they have collected away from Turf Moor so far this season.

"I thought we had four key chances, certainly three, and we didn't take them," he added.

"They were good saves from the keeper but I played with Kelvin a long time ago and they are saves a keeper of his calibre was expected to make.

"I was disappointed in the finishing because at half-time you're scratching your head at how we are 1-0 down."

The defeat leaves Burnley two points behind Aston Villa and in 18th place with games against two other Champions League-chasing clubs in Tottenham and Arsenal to come after the international break.

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