Belfast Telegraph

Oriol Romeu: Southampton keeper Fraser Forster among the best in Europe

Fraser Forster is among the best goalkeepers in Europe, according to his Southampton team-mate Oriol Romeu.

Forster kept a sixth successive clean sheet since returning from 10 months out with a knee injury as Southampton entered the top six of the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 win at Swansea.

Taking in last season before his injury, Forster has now gone 633 minutes without conceding a goal and England manager Roy Hodgson appeared to boost his Euro 2016 prospects when he described him as "a very good character" on BBC's Match of the Day.

Competition remains fierce for England goalkeeping spots with Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Ben Foster all in the battle for Euro 2016 places this summer.

But midfielder Romeu has no doubts that the three-times capped Forster should be in Hodgson's squad.

"Of course (he should go to the Euros), Fraser now is on top," Romeu said. "He is one of the best in this league and one of the best in Europe.

"Fraser deserves all the compliments he gets, as does the defensive line. It is all about teamwork and we are all doing our jobs in that area.

"Fraser has saved us many times, but the three at the back have dealt with all crosses and one-on-one situations."

Southampton fully merited their fifth win in six games, one which was secured by Shane Long's 69th-minute header.

The victory moved them to within a point of fifth-placed Manchester United and Saints boss Ronald Koeman feels Southampton should aim even higher, with a top-four Champions League place still possible.

"We are in a good position and we have fought hard to get here," Romeu said.

"We have to keep doing the same thing as the teams behind us will try and take our place and we must fight to be a bit higher.

"We have to be ready for that, but the way we are defending and playing means we are very solid throughout the whole game."

Swansea are three points above the relegation zone after suffering their first defeat under Francesco Guidolin.

The Italian had previously overseen a win and two draws, but Long added to Swansea's concerns over conceding goals at set-pieces when he was left unmarked eight yards out to dispatch James Ward-Prowse's cross.

"When the cross comes in we should probably be a bit tighter," said Swansea skipper Ashley Williams.

" It's been disappointing in the last couple of weeks because we didn't get the wins (against West Brom and Crystal Palace) that would have eased it.

"This is another disappointment, but we need to go again."

Swansea now have a two-week break before resuming with daunting back-to-back trips to Tottenham and Arsenal and then a crunch home game with fellow strugglers Norwich.

"We've been in this position before and it's about regrouping," Williams said. "It's going to hurt for a while.

"We will sit on this one for a bit longer than normal because there's no game next week.

"But we have to concentrate on what we need to do and get out of trouble."


From Belfast Telegraph