Fraser Forster says interest from Chelsea only proves he is performing to his ability for Southampton and England but has dismissed speculation linking himself with a move to Stamford Bridge. The 28-year-old has been mentioned a potential replacement for Thibaut Courtois in west London but the ex-Celtic stopper has no plans to abandon the St Mary's club.
Forster's campaign did not begin until January after spending 10 months out with a broken knee cap, suffered during the 2014-15 season while clearing a back pass against Burnley, and he has wasted no time returning to his very best. Upon his reinstatement in the Saints team, Forster kept a club record six successive clean sheets and went 708 minutes without conceding a goal.
The run included a heroic performance against Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium, a showing which earned Forster the man-of-the-match award and was described by Southampton manager Ronald Koeman as "magic". The Sun have claimed that Chelsea are plotting a £20m ($29m, €25m) move for the 'keeper should Courtois depart in the summer and Forster says he is thrilled by the speculation.
"I think it is a compliment in many ways because if you are being linked with teams then you are obviously doing the right things," he told Sky Sports, when asked about Chelsea's interest. "I have two years left on my contract at Southampton and I have loved my time here. I can't thank the club enough for the way they have stood by me when I was injured. I'm just concentrating on the day-to-day business here at the club and then hopefully I can have a good summer with England."
With the European Championships just over six weeks away, Forster must put speculation over Chelsea to one side in order to concentrate on securing his place in the England squad for the summer finals in France. Injury to Jack Butland has cemented his place as one of the back-ups to number one Joe Hart, but Forster is not content with being second choice.
"Everyone knows that Joe is the number one and he deserves that," he added. "He is a top keeper but that's the challenge for the rest of us: to push him as hard as we can and try and put pressure on him. That has got to be the goal for me, to keep working as hard as I can and go into the summer in the best possible form."