JOHN BARNES insists Fraser Forster should return to Celtic on a permanent basis because his career in England has “never worked out”.

Forster starred for the Hoops last season and Neil Lennon is keen to keep him at Parkhead beyond his loan deal, which expired yesterday.

Reports have suggested that Celtic are aiming to sign the 32-year-old on a permanent deal, but with Forster still having two-years left on his bumper Southampton contract the Hoops would have to splash big money to gain his signature.

Barnes, who had a spell as Celtic manager in 1999, believes Forster is best suited at Parkhead and he has urged his former side to go all out secure his signature ahead of their 10-in-a-row bid next season.

He said: “It’s been pretty clear that Lenny [Neil Lennon] wants Forster in charge of the goal in order to make the ten-in-a-row campaign reality; that’s where the focus is just now.

“Being a loan is not a security of knowing that you're in a particular club, for your family to settle down and stuff.

“If they feel that's what they need to do, and he feels it's the right move for him, I think he should do it and Celtic will need him as he’s a very good goalkeeper.

“I think it never worked out for him down here, and I think that, once things don't work out, particularly for goalkeepers, they almost have to move on.

“Especially if the fans come for you, and you lack their support, it’s time to go. As a striker or a defender, there’s a bit more forgiveness and leeway, but sadly, for goalkeepers, there’s very little of that. You’re either the hero…or very much the opposite. 

“However, they love him up at Celtic. He's been there. I think that'd be a good move for him.

“It’s pretty obvious that Forster would like to be at Celtic next season, and to help push for another title. And he’s also liked by the fans, which really helps. And at the end of the day, if you’re at a club that makes you happy, you’re likely to put in a better performance."

Forster has also been linked with moves to other Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Chelsea and Barnes insists a possible Parkhead return hangs on what other offers are on the table.

He continued: “It really depends on what other options he has, because, if he had an offer to go to Man United and play, he’d most likely do that.

“I really think he’s going to be with Celtic, as long as he feels that the best offer is Celtic. But he may have lost his chance in England that’s all, but it’ll come down to which clubs in England fancy him, and then, whether he feels Celtic is a benefit, and a better fit.”

Barnes also commented on Celtic’s decision to allow Craig Gordon to leave the club after offering a vastly reduced contract to the Scotland international.

He added: “When you get to a certain age, and the hierarchy decides, or whoever decides, that you've had your time, and as a player you still want to play, but the club decides to move in a different direction, there’s not much you can do.

“At the end of the day, Craig arrived from near-retirement after numerous injuries, yet he came back from that, performed really well, but he’s struggled to keep it up.”

John Barnes was speaking to