Opinion: Is it time for Fraser Forster to be axed at St. Mary's?

Opinion: Is it time for Fraser Forster to be axed at St. Mary's?

The shot-stopper has been on the receiving end of an abundance of criticism from supporters in recent weeks.

Ryan White

In terms of the calibre of players at Mauricio Pellegrino's disposal this campaign, supporters have displayed their dissatisfaction at performances over the last few weeks, or even months.

The home defeat to Burnley, a game Southampton easily dominated, was enough to show the frustration amongst fans as masses drove out the stadium the second Sam Vokes headed in the opener and only goal which led to the Saints' loss. As we currently lie in the international break, that infuriating result leaves the Hampshire outfit 13th in the Premier League table and a measly, and frightening, four points above the drop zone. 

Of course, there is plenty of time for Southampton to turn this form around but the quality has certainly been lacking and any change can only lead to the club falling down the ladder. 

One player in the Staplewood camp whose been scrutinised is between the sticks as towering goalkeeper Fraser Forster has failed to live up to the same standard that we witnessed two campaigns ago, as well as what earned him a move to the south coast from across the border in the first place. 

Does Fraser Forster face the chop if performances don't improve?

The 29 year-old, who stands at above two metres in height, has accumulated 115 appearances since transferring from Scottish giants Celtic to Southampton, however, his place as the first choice shot-stopper is at major threat with his frankly appalling performances this side of the summer. 

Forster has made a number of clear mistakes this term, mostly his ability to drop the ball from opposition crosses; leading to many 'heart in the mouth' situations and that does not breed too much confidence for the paying spectator, although Mauricio Pellegrino, a boss who is not popular himself, hasn't hesitated to include the 'keeper in his starting eleven. 

That might change if murmurs go round the changing room and if the six-time capped England international continues to struggle in net then Alex McCarthy may be called upon as he eagerly awaits his opportunity in the first-team having featured mostly for the club's under-23 team this season. 



Could McCarthy realistically step up to the plate?

Having moved to St. Mary's in the summer of 2016 from Crystal Palace, Alex McCarthy has abruptly struggled to cement a spot at any of the handful of clubs he's found himself at, including; Reading, Ipswich Town and Leeds United

Aged 27, he's racked up six outings this term in the Premier League 2 division - the competition for reserve sides - and made a further two appearances in the EFL Trophy

His lack of experience is telling with just two senior matches to his name last year, both in the EFL Cup and hasn't quite fulfilled the potential once thought of him, however, Mauricio Pellegrino can only experiment and with the current form of Fraser Forster then it's most certainly not a risk, but a tactical decision in the hope that his current first choice may recapture his confidence and form to help climb Southampton up the top-flight table. 

Will Pellegrino have to invest in a new goalkeeper in January?

There is still a long period between now and when the winter transfer window opens, over one-and-a-half months, meaning a lot can change for the Saints and it is far too early to dictate what positions Mauricio Pellegrino has to reignite or improve in January. 

The obvious area is in the attacking half with the club's apparent lack of goal scoring touch but the loss of Virgil van Dijk's consistency of the 2016/17 season has meant the back line is far more vulnerable and Forster has failed to cope with that added pressure. 

Southampton will undoubtedly have to look at the current situation regarding goalkeepers and seem whether it's appropriate to change the personnel options, with the need to delve abroad looking increasingly likely and the manager should, at this moment in time, welcome the choice to improve his 'keepers at disposal.