Saturday 24 March 2018

Foster sets Euro goal after switch to Blues

John Curtis

New Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster is aiming to reclaim his England place for Euro 2012 after Edwin van der Sar's form meant he had to quit Manchester United.

Foster has made the £6m switch to St Andrew's after missing out on Fabio Capello's squad for the World Cup finals this summer.

He had effectively become third choice at United -- behind Van Der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak.

But the 27-year-old is looking to make the same impact for Birmingham as Joe Hart, who is heading to South Africa with England after a successful season on loan from Manchester City.

Foster said: "I know I was at Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, but I don't enjoy not playing regular first-team football.

"Training is all well and good, but matches do it for me. In the last two or three years I've played 20-odd games and it is no good and to be fair to Edwin, he can go on for another two or three years.

"He is that fit. I think the main concern was that when Edwin signed his new deal, everyone knew he was going to be the No 1 'keeper next season.


"He could go on for another few years after that as well. He is a fantastic 'keeper.

"I'm 27, I just need first-team football now, enough is enough and it is time to move on."

Foster admitted: "The lack of football has cost me at the end of the day in terms of England.

"I am not on the plane to South Africa and I can't argue with the manager's decision. I've played one (first-team) game in seven months.

"I've seen Mr Capello at few matches with United this season and he has asked me what is going on and things like that.

"I think he will be fairly pleased that I am looking to play some first-team football.

"I'll get behind the country now like the rest of the fans and hope we do really well in the tournament.

"For me the aim is to do well with Birmingham and get back with England for the next European Championships.

"The manager (Capello) did play me in a few games, so he did see something in me that he quite likes, so with the chance to play first-team football, hopefully, I'll be able to get back in there again with England."

Foster concedes he has a hard act to follow in Hart, but says he is ready for the challenge.

"Joe did fantastically well last season," Foster said. "He is a fantastic 'keeper. To be honest, I never expected anything other than that from Joe.

"I've got to follow on from that. They are fairly big gloves to fill, but I am confident in my own ability and pretty confident I can do it as well.

"I didn't speak to him directly before coming to Birmingham, but when I was with the England squad and Joe was involved, he just told me about the club, the goalkeeping coach, the manager, things like that, what the lads are like.

"He only had positive things to say, how much of a good time he used to have and you saw he didn't really want to go back to Manchester City.

"He wanted to stay for another season at Birmingham which is understandable because he has had a good year this year and you just want to be playing first-team football."

Foster is adamant his relationship with Alex Ferguson remains undamaged after bringing to an end his five-year spell at United.

He said: "Had my relationship with Alex become strained by the end? No, definitely not.

"I've read quite a few things saying that we had a massive barney after the Sunderland game. A barney involves two people talking. It was mainly just one person!

"But the relationship was definitely not strained. Alex has been fantastic with me and I've read some nice things he said the other day which is fantastic to hear.

"It gives you a boost. You never have to say anything when a player leaves his club. I got on with the manager really, well, up until the end, which unfortunately had to come."

Irish Independent

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