Southampton keeper Fraser Forster is unlikely to miss Saturday’s match against Arsenal despite being recalled from England with an arm injury, sources say.
Forster, 28, had pulled out of the English selection for a friendly vs. Slovakia after taking a minor knock in training last week. Manager Sam Allardyce then moved to replace Forster with Southampton’s second-choice keeper, Alex McCarthy.
Previously, it had been McCarthy who was pipped for his first start in net since March, when the 26 year old was still with Crystal Palace. In that match, Palace lost 2-1 to Liverpool at their home ground, Selhurst Park.
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Now McCarthy trades the prospect of facing the Gunners at home for that of perhaps playing for England, while his counterpart limbers up for a critical match at the Emirates.
Southampton have not won a match yet this season, and Forster has conceded four goals in three outings including two penalties. He’ll need to find his form, along with the rest of the squad, if the Saints are to take a result from North London.
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A good place to start might be a remembrance of his last outing vs. Arsenal. In that match, played in January, Forster held the Gunners to a 0-0 draw against heavily-stacked odds. It was one of a club-record run of six consecutive clean sheets held by the 28 year old netminder, who has not recorded one since.
Forster’s late-season form helped the club climb the League table and secure a Europa League group slot for itself, and fans will be counting on their keeper to recapture that form Saturday. The season thus far has gotten off to a hobbling start, and Arsenal away is never easy, but in football, anything can happen.
As for McCarthy, he did not feature in today’s qualifier vs. Slovakia, which England won 1-0 behind an Adam Lallana goal.