FRASER Forster is not ruling out making his season-long loan deal at Celtic into a permanent arrangement. Still under contract at Southampton until 2022, the 31-year-old was paraded as a Parkhead player again on Thursday night. 

If all goes well and the south-coast club can be persuaded to part with him, Forster is attracted to the idea of returning on a permanent basis to the club he served with distinction between 2010 and 2014, spending the first two seasons on-loan from Newcastle, then two years as a permanent signing. 

Asked if he could make the deal permanent, the England international said: “Yeah, definitely. I’d never, ever rule that out. Obviously, I just want to concentrate week-by-week to begin with. But if we have a great year, ultimately, it would come down to the two clubs working it out somehow.

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“This is a fantastic place to play football and, even when I left, I hoped one day I’d come back because that is just the type of club it is.

"You want to be here as much as you can, so I definitely wouldn’t rule that out. It would be a fantastic thing if that could happen, although that would be out of my hands and there is a lot of football to be played before then.”

Having used his time at Parkhead as a springboard to earn the first of his six England caps, Forster hopes a further stint in Scotland could propel him to further international honours. The likes of Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Tom Heaton have supplanted him in Gareth Southgate’s pecking order during the time he has been out injured, with England Under-21 goalkeeper Angus Gunn – his rival for a first-team spot at Southampton – another potentially blocking his path. 

“It’s all in other people’s hands,” said Forster. “All I can do is try and play as well as I can here. 

“Obviously it would be a dream to get back onto the England set up but I can’t control that. First and foremost, I just want to get back playing and enjoying my football.

“I’m just focusing on working as hard as I can and trying to deliver on the pitch for Celtic. If England does happen then great but I just need to take it week by week and enjoy it.”

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With a pre-season under his belt at St Mary’s, he is keen to get started as soon as possible. While he is unavailable for Celtic’s second leg Europa League play-off tie against AIK, getting some playing time against Hearts tomorrow could set him up for an appearance in the Old Firm match at Ibrox on September 1.

“Those are the games to look forward to,” said Forster. “As a kid, those are the ones you dream of playing in full stadiums with atmospheres.

There is nothing to be scared of. As a team, we have a big week beforehand and will concentrate on that first. But obviously, Rangers have recruited and got players in and have a fantastic manager as well.”