No guarantees as Forster heads back south

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew insists Fraser Forster is by no means guaranteed a first-team place at St James' Park next season, despite a successful loan period at Celtic.

The 23-year-old, who is rumoured to be on Canaries' boss Paul Lambert's wanted list this summer, will have to fight it out with Tim Krul and Steve Harper to be first choice on Tyneside according to Pardew.

'Fraser is not a shoe-in, none of them are,' said Pardew. 'It's going to be a case of, 'come on then, who's the hungriest, who has had a summer, who's actually really taken care of what they're doing over the summer?'

'Who is putting in front of me, 'I'm ready, I can be the man'. Hopefully, that challenge will go right up to the day we kick off.'

Forster has been in impressive form for Celtic this season but it appears Pardew remains far from convinced after he criticised the standard of Scottish football this season.

'I think he's (Forster) coming back to a completely different level of football, I'll tell you that now,' he said. 'We have watched that division and watched him all year. We've been very disappointed with the quality of the games, other than the occasional Rangers versus Celtic game.

'And even some of those have been poor, if I'm honest. He is coming to a completely different level of football.'

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Several clubs will be watching Forster's situation very closely with his Newcastle future far from certain.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is also reportedly keen on taking him to Parkhead on a permanent basis, just as Norwich were this time last season after Forster helped them to promotion to the Championship during a loan spell.

However, Norwich were unable to thrash out a deal and signed John Ruddy from Everton instead.