Fraser Forster backed to challenge Joe Hart for England No. 1 place
Ryan Bertrand says he is delighted at the return to fitness of Fraser Forster, and has predicted the goalkeeper will re-establish himself as the biggest threat to Joe Hart's position in the England team.
Southampton's Forster made his first appearance of the season in Wednesday's 2-0 Premier League defeat of Watford after completing his recovery from a long-term injury, before which he was England's second choice.
His return to first-team football came just four days after Ben Foster's return for West Brom following an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and in the same season when Jack Butland's emergence at Stoke and Hart's consistency for Manchester City has given England its greatest strength in depth among its goalkeepers in the modern era.
Forster's club position remains under threat from the on-loan Maarten Stekelenburg, but Bertrand, who on Wednesday played out of position as one of three central defenders in front of the goalkeeper, spoke of the confidence Forster's presence gives his teammates.
"I was very happy for him to come back and get a clean sheet, so it's a fantastic return for him and a massive boost for us," Bertrand said, having in recent months been England's first-choice left-back.
"[Forster's presence is] good, he fills you with confidence. It's good to have him back.
"It was a long old [injury]. I was fortunate that I kept him going for a few months when he had his injury.
"He's been working so hard since the day it happened and he's done wonders to come back so early and be in the condition he's in, it's fantastic.
"First and foremost we're going to concentrate on Southampton and getting the right results here and hopefully our performances will be good enough for England.
"He's a massive boost. He was fantastic for us last year and I'm sure he'll continue that.
"He's calm and if any forward goes through one-on-one, it's not often, but you'd back Frase to save it.
"He'll definitely be good for us at the back but Maarten's done a very good job there too before that.
"Frase [can challenge Hart over Butland]. He's just picked up from where he left off. For me, Frase edges it."
Watford's Troy Deeney was among those frustrated by Southampton's back three on Wednesday evening in a performance widely considered their worst of the season, and the striker said: "I am not going to try and gloss over the fact that we were crap. There is no point hiding the facts.
"The only person who can come out of the game with any credit is Heurelho Gomes because he saved about five goals.
"My job as captain is to stand up when we have played s--- and take the hit. This is the first time this season where we have had to look at ourselves."