Former Southampton keeper Paul Jones believes Fraser Forster is now heading into the prime of his career, and has praised his contribution to the club.
Forster today picked up the Barclays Premier League Player of the Month award for February, after his role in wins over Swansea and West Ham United, as well as his incredible display in a 0-0 draw at Arsenal.
Last month also saw the Saints keeper beat Jones’s previous club record of 666 minutes for the longest run without conceding a Premier League goal, eventually reaching 708 minutes before being beaten.
Jones, who made 223 appearances for Southampton from 1997 to 2004, has been thrilled to see how well the team’s current custodian has done since returning in January from a ten-month lay-off with a knee injury.
“He had a horrendous injury. To come back so fit and strong, obviously the staff have done very well with him and on his own personal mental side he’s obviously very strong-minded,” Jones said in an interview with Southampton’s official YouTube channel.
“He’s done fantastically well. The Arsenal game certainly I remember, and the West Ham game he pulled off some great saves.
“He’s a big lad, but reflex-wise he’s superb. His shot-stopping has been tremendous. His decision-making seems very good. I coach my young kids, and I try to tell them that. A lot of them are good shot stoppers, but decision-making and talking [are so important]. He seems to organise the boys very well in front of him, and that breeds confidence.
“He’s 27 now and I think that’s a good age. He’s played a number of games now and he’s had the experience. That age, 27 to 35, I would say is probably about right as to where you should be in and around your peak. Fitness-wise, hopefully everything’s ok and then it’s just your experience coming from there really.”
Former Wales international Jones added: “We’re coming to the Euros soon, and I don’t want England to do too well, as they’re playing Wales, but hopefully he’ll be in the squad pushing Joe Hart.”