Surprise regarding the arrival of a goalkeeper who plies his domestic trade in the Scottish Professional Football League in an England No1 shirt rather misses the point.

Fraser Forster's form against St Johnstone, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen is irrelevant in the context of his international rise to prominence. Performances for Celtic against the best club sides in Europe have been the ones to elevate Forster to the position where Roy Hodgson can no longer ignore him.

Even when Alan Pardew once sniped about the standard of football Forster was encountering in Scotland, the Newcastle United manager was being unfair. Forster is subjected to pressure and expectation which affects those clubs for whom trophies are a necessity; therefore Celtic, and not Newcastle.

If, as anticipated, Forster is handed an England debut against Chile on Friday evening, he will join elite company. Until now, Alan Thompson is the only player to earn a full England cap when donning Celtic colours.

There are similarities, but also stark differences, between the circumstances of Forster and Thompson. For both, European football has been pivotal to their call-ups.

Thompson was a key part of Martin O'Neill's Celtic team, which progressed to the Uefa Cup final in 2003. The claiming of English scalps en route to that Seville showcase, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool, catapulted Thompson into his home nation's consciousness once again. As a left-sided midfield player, Thompson held appeal to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Forster's brilliance against Barcelona, in particular, since Celtic returned to the Champions League last season has bestowed a similarly high profile on the 25-year-old.

"The fact is Fraser has Champions League football, not a lot of goalkeepers have that and he has performed fantastically," says Neil Lennon, Forster's club manager.

"He has more than proven his capabilities of being in the England squad. We are playing the cream of Europe and have been for the past two seasons. Even before that, in the Europa League, Fraser produced world class performances.

"So there shouldn't be an argument. I don't think there is, now."

While Thompson's appearance in a 2004 Gothenburg friendly marked a solitary cap, at 30 years of age, Forster has both the chance and potential to begin a long journey with England. Not only is Forster's age in his favour, but Joe Hart's continued troubles render it illogical for Hodgson to consider Forster as anything other than a serious challenger to the Manchester City man.

Nine years ago, Thompson entered an England camp which he soon discovered was riddled with club cliques. International football, he learned, could be a lonely business for an outsider. The suspicion that Eriksson wanted Thompson to play his way out of, rather than into, his thoughts for Euro 2004 never really disappeared.

Forster, conversely, has told those close to him how much he enjoys England's current set-up. He has been made to feel welcome and relishes the opportunity to both work alongside and compare himself with other top-level goalkeepers.

Lennon cites Forster's agility and temperament in big matches as his finest attributes. Lennon also correctly points out the marked improvement in Forster's kicking since he first arrived in Glasgow as a nervous player who hadn't been exposed to regular first-team action at a club of anywhere close to Celtic's size.

Lennon has a track record in improving the value of players such as Forster. Celtic's goalkeeping coach, Stevie Woods, is also a positive, day-to-day influence on Forster's career. Forster has been good for Celtic but there should be no doubt that the Scottish champions have had an equally strong influence on a player who had earlier bounced around English lower league clubs on loan deals.

Anecdotal evidence suggests Forster's hopes of dislodging Tim Krul as Newcastle's then second-choice goalkeeper were undone by an error in a reserve match. Alan Shearer, then Newcastle manager, had earlier found his goalkeeping coach unable to call which of the duo was best placed to deputise for Steve Harper.

Not that Newcastle were of urgent mind to sell Forster; it was the desire of the player himself to attain regular first team football that played a significant part in the move to Celtic.

The promotion of Krul, it has to be said, hasn't done those at St James' Park much harm either.

From Lennon's point of view, Forster's sprawling 6ft 7in frame and the recommendation of Paul Lambert, who managed the goalkeeper at Norwich City, were crucial factors. Thompson, too, had encountered Forster when a coach at Newcastle.

The automatic assertion that Forster will move to the Premier League in the not-so-distant future is a leap of faith. Forster has spoken of a desire to test himself in a foreign land and there is no shortage of interest from abroad. Benfica have been the most public with their overtures towards Forster, but they are far from alone. A current salary in the region of £1m per year will hardly prove problematic to those looking to coax him away from Glasgow.

Nonetheless, Forster has earned the right to dictate his own destiny. His imminent England appearance merely endorses that, and hands Hodgson plenty to ponder.