Fraser Forster refused a return to Celtic this season as he ‘didn’t want to stay’, according to Southampton chief Martin Semmens.

The Saints stopper was Neil Lennon’s number one transfer priority with 10 in a row on the agenda but Forster rejected another loan deal at Parkhead.

Forster is believed to have wanted to challenge himself in the Premier League this season and fight for a place as Southampton’s number one against Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy.

And Celtic’s interest in their former goalie died after they confirmed the £5million signing of Vasilis Barkas from AEK Athens.

Forster has gone straight back into Ralph Hassenhuttl’s squad ahead of the new campaign and Semmens praised him for ‘doing well’ in training thus far.

He told BBC Radio Solent: "Fraser made an active decision to come back. He didn’t want to stay at Celtic anymore, he wanted to come back and play for us so we’ll give him that opportunity.

"Fraser has been a full part of the squad since he came back. He couldn’t be during the games in July because he wasn’t allowed to be part of that squad but now he’s a full part of it.

"He’s training and he’s doing really well, so we’ll see how that develops but Fraser is a full part of our squad going forward."

Saints have kept a close eye on Forster during his successful spell back at Celtic and Semmens believes the manager has welcomed the keeper back.

He added: “There's never been any issue with Fraser from a relationship point of view.

"He's always trained brilliantly and is a fantastic guy. Ralph and him have never really had any issues and they've not had a lot of time together.

"He's obviously always been our player and one that we watched carefully.”