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Ben Foster


Ben Foster

Ben Foster was spotted by Alex Ferguson, playing for Wrexham, on loan from Stoke, when the United manager was watching his son, Darren, in the LDV Vans Trophy Final in 2005, which Wrexham won. Manchester United had been struggling for many years to replace goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel, and Ferguson decided to move for the young Foster – paying £1 million.

He joined Manchester United from Stoke City on 19 July 2005. Between 2005 and 2007, he was on loan to Watford. Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd has claimed that "he's better than current Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar" and believes that "he is going to be the best goalkeeper in the world." Manchester United manager Ferguson has suggested that Foster will succeed Edwin van der Sar as first-choice keeper at United and should eventually replace Paul Robinson as "England's next goalkeeper."

Foster had an impressive season at Watford, attracting plaudits from opponents and commentators. His long goal-kick was a particular asset for Watford as many of the team's goals came via so called 'route one' football, with a long clearance from Foster collected by strikers Marlon King and Darius Henderson in promising positions. His imposing stature, confidence at set-pieces and excellent shot-stopping ability also stood out in what was his first full professional season. Foster helped Watford reach the Premier League by beating Leeds United 3–0 in the Championship play-off final.

On 10 August 2006, Foster re-signed on loan for Watford after Manchester United secured the services of Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak on loan. Foster remained at Vicarage Road for the entire 2006–07 season as United had no option to recall him.

In June 2007, it was announced that Foster would undergo surgery on a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee.He returned to light training towards the end of 2007, before moving on to a more rigorous regime in mid-January 2008 and made a comeback in a reserves game against Middlesbrough on the 6th March 2008, Foster made his debut for Manchester United on 15 March 2008 against Derby County, as Van der Sar was injured and Kuszczak was suspended, having been sent off against Portsmouth in the FA Cup quarter final the previous Saturday. United won the game 1-0, with Foster making two crucial saves en route to keeping a clean sheet.

However, despite that performance, Ferguson did not start Foster for the match against Bolton Wanderers, and opted for Kuszczak after he served his suspension. The reason was given by the fact that Foster was not registered, and therefore ineligible, to play in European competition, so Kuszczak would be the only eligible and fit keeper available if Van der Sar could not recover from his groin injury in time.

After being selected as a substitute for Manchester United's opening game of the 2008–09 Champions League against Villarreal on 17 September 2008, Foster then played for the reserves against Blackburn Rovers the following day. Unfortunately, during the game, he fell awkwardly and suffered a twisted ankle, putting him out of contention for six to eight weeks. Fortunately for Foster, his recovery time was quicker than was first estimated and he returned to reserve team action on 14 October 2008, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–1 win over Oldham Athletic reserves.

Source: Ben Foster (Wikipedia)