FRASER FORSTER is English to his core but a part of him will forever belong to Glasgow. Sitting inside a cavernous hall inside the Football Association’s impressive St George’s Park training complex a short drive from Burton-on-Trent, the 29 year-old cuts a figure of contentment as he settles down on an incongruous white leather armchair to preview this weekend’s World Cup qualifying tie between Scotland and England at Hampden.

Forster evidently feels at ease at this level. Granted, the Southampton number one would like to ease Joe Hart out of the way to become England’s first-choice goalkeeper but six caps is still a reasonable return at this juncture. And none of that would have been possible, he believe, had he not enjoyed a four-year spell with Celtic. He reflects on that time now as key to his development.

Forster was just 22 when he moved to Scotland for the first of two seasons on loan from Newcastle United, prior to making his move permanent and staying for a further two. He had spent the previous year out on loan at Norwich City but it was Celtic that proved the making of him, giving him a diet of Champions League football and a regular shot at winning silverware.

Three league titles, two Scottish Cups and a famous win over Barcelona suggest it was a transfer that worked well for him. As he prepares to head north again this weekend, he has a lot to thank Scottish football for.

“I can’t express how much I loved my time at Celtic,” he said. “The people I met, the people I got to work with, and the journey we went on together - I loved every minute of being at that club. The fans are amazing and it is just a very special club.

“When I look back at the start of my time in Glasgow, it was really my second full season as a footballer. I had a year at Norwich before I went to Celtic. From the first minute I walked through the door to where the club was when I left, we just went on such a big journey. As a group we all moved forward together and had some great nights in the Champions League. It is a place I will always want to go back to.”

He will head back to Glasgow with the rest of the squad on Friday afternoon ahead of the match at Hampden at 5pm the following evening. He is the only member of the England squad to have played at Scotland’s national stadium before and he is enthused about a return, even if Celtic had an unfortunate habit of sometimes coming unstuck in semi-finals and finals there during Neil Lennon’s time as manager.

“We had a few tough games at Hampden,” he recalled. “We won some, and we lost some. For me it’s a fantastic stadium. It was a strange one for us at Celtic at that time as we were playing well. It was just the way it went in certain games. It’s hard to put your finger on why. So I’ve got mixed memories of Hampden really.

“But I won’t have any fear of going there. It’s one of those stadiums you want to be playing at because it means you must have done well to get there. It will be the first time there for a Scotland England game and I’ve no doubt it will be a great atmosphere. It will be another special night.”

He does not expect a squad replete with players appearing regularly in the Champions League and at major tournaments with England will find their knees knocking at the Hampden atmosphere, even at its most raucous.

“I’m probably the only guy in the England squad who has played there but we’ll go there the night before and the rest of them can see it then. But when you look through our squad and some of the stadia they’ve played in all around Europe, they’ve all got experience of going to tough places. So I don’t think Hampden will particularly faze them.”

Forster will likely take it all in from the substitutes bench or perhaps even a seat in the main stand, with Hart likely to start in goal for England. At 29, though, the Hexham-born player is still relatively young for a goalkeeper and ambition continues to burn brightly from within him.

“I have a lot left to achieve,” he offered. “Moving forward, I still want to be England’s number one and own that shirt. At the minute, all I can do is play as well as I can for Southampton and push Joe Hart for his place. Having had a taste of Champions League football at Celtic, I’d love to experience that again one day.”