McLeish backing Foster for England

22 August 2010 09:00

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes Ben Foster will provide a stern challenge to Joe Hart for the goalkeeping jersey in England's opening Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland next month after his stunning display in the 2-1 victory over Blackburn.

The 27-year-old, a £6million signing from Manchester United this summer, saved Morten Gamst Pedersen's penalty and pulled off a number of other impressive stops to ensure the Blues maintained an unbeaten home run that stretches back to last September.

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"Foster was excellent. The first home game and he's saved us points already. It's a brilliant start for him, he made the most brilliant penalty save," said McLeish.

"If it's him and Joe Hart that are vying for the England jersey at the next internationals, I think Joe's in pole position at the moment but with performances like that it's going to be a great battle between two great young goalkeepers."

Despite Foster's heroics, it was Rovers who took the lead in the 54th minute through Steven Nzonzi's header before Craig Gardner became Birmingham's second hero of the day with two goals in 14 minutes.

McLeish admitted the Blues had been somewhat fortunate to come away with three points but hailed the battling qualities of his side.

"They dominated our penalty box with their bombardment," he said.

"We tried to play it on the ground but even if we were the most silky team in the world today they would still have caused us problems because of the tactics they use, and they use them well.

"It was a tough game, we could have lost it. But again the players showed spirit and resilience - I need to find some new words because I used these words every week last season."

Source: PA