Fraser Forster has praised the Southampton medical and coaching staff after linking up with England for the first time since returning from his major knee injury.
Forster is in Roy Hodgson’s squad for tomorrow night’s friendly away to Germany, as well as Tuesday’s visit of Netherlands to Wembley Stadium.
After returning to action for Saints in January following a ten-month lay-off, it is another significant step for the keeper to be back in the national set-up.
Reflecting on his recovery, Forster said: “I came back a little bit quicker. That's just credit to the surgeon first and foremost, he did a great job, then we've got a fantastic medical staff down at Southampton.
"It was a new injury for them to deal with but I think everyone embraced the challenge and saw it as a fantastic opportunity.
"I saw it as an opportunity to come back fitter and stronger than I'd ever been before.
"Fortunately, we all kind of bought into it and probably had a bit of luck along the way."
Speaking on England duty, Forster highlighted his performance in February’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal as his best since returning to action, as he went on a club-record run of 708 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal.
“There was probably a bit of luck involved in it, but I think that was probably the game where you come off and look at the previous nine months and you think it was worth it for that kind of game,” he said.
“I think that is credit to the physios and the doctor at Southampton and for everyone it was a real lift when they see what you have been through and then to be lucky enough to put in a performance like that.
“Petr Čech is a great guy and was very complimentary. He is a very, very nice guy and he has been putting in performances like that for years. To have someone of that calibre being complimentary about the way you played was a real honour.”
Forster added: “For me, at that stage, it was just a case of trying to play well and come off the pitch fit and just keep working as hard as I can to get back in the England squad and keep moving forward.”
Forster also praised the role of his Southampton and England goalkeeping coach, Dave Watson.
“I was very fortunate to have Dave,” he said. “He obviously had that bad injury and went through it as well so he could understand mentally what I had been going through.
“Dave is very driven as well and he was fantastic when I got back to the pitch-stage rehab and he was fantastic with me doing sessions in the afternoon and one-on-one work.
“It is a real credit to him that I came back as sharp as I did due to the work that I did with him. So I was really lucky to have someone who is that passionate about goalkeeping around him and I am very fortunate to work with him day-in, day-out.”