Southampton’s Head of Goalkeeping, Dave Watson, has spoken of his pride at the progression and performances of Fraser Forster.
Not long after first-choice keeper Forster signed a new five-year contract at the club, Watson also extended his deal, meaning the pair are set to continue working with each other for the foreseeable future.
Both men arrived at Saints in 2014, and Watson has been delighted with Forster’s efforts since then, and particularly how he came back from the knee injury that ruled him out for ten months.
"The club backed my decision to sign Fraser two years ago and that's obviously massive commitment from the club,” Watson told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“I was really pleased in the way Fraser performed until he got his injury, but then the work done behind the scenes in terms of the medical department, the sports science department, the strength and conditioning department – these guys worked a phenomenal amount of hours on that individual basis with Fraser and kind of my job then was to finish that off and get him back over the finish line and ready to play.
“What he did when he got back in the team, when the team really were in a difficult moment in the season, was phenomenal.
“I've just been really pleased he came through to the end of the season and has managed to do the summer tournament as well and just continue getting fitter and stronger and having more belief that he's going to come back fitter, stronger and better, and obviously now he's had a short break and he's ready to start again.
“He's getting ready now just to start joining back in with the team, and it's been a meteoric recovery really and we're still really proud of what he's done to get through that.”
Watson also spoke of his satisfaction at the progress of all the keepers he works with at the club, and not just Forster, who could feature for the first time this pre-season in the game against Groningen.
"I've been really pleased with the department,” he said. “It's a real tough position if you like, because there's only one guy who can play, and when you've got somebody of Fraser's quality and the performances he's put in over the time it's very difficult for the guys underneath to feel as though they've got a chance or an opportunity, but we've had a fantastic group.
“Obviously, there's been ins and outs over the last couple of years, but the department itself has grown, they've worked really well together and the main thing for me is I think everybody has improved and there's a nice atmosphere when we're training and we're very professional and we want to improve.
“But the key is that these guys who are not playing manage to support the guy who's playing on Saturday afternoon and if you feel as though you've got that support round you then obviously it helps in terms of, at the moment, Fraser's performances as well.”