Foster Set To Get England Call-Up

21 March 2009 10:09
Fabio Capello will break his long-standing rule never to pick players who cannot get a regular game for their clubs by selecting Ben Foster

in his squad to face Slovakia and Ukraine.

Foster has been almost permanently injured since Capello replaced Steve McClaren 15 months ago.

Indeed, his bad luck goes back further than that, with just one England

cap in in a career that has promised much but, until a man-of-the-match performance in Manchester United

's Carling Cup Final win over Tottenham, delivered very little.

Capello had already heard plenty about Foster. But being at Wembley to get a first-hand view of the Red Devils keeper allowed the the England boss to get confirmation.

And while a visit to Fulham

a fortnight ago went unrewarded once Sir Alex Ferguson surprisingly decided to pick Edwin van der Sar

against his former club, Capello intends to stick with his gut instinct.

"I will pick Foster," said the England boss.

"A lot of people have told me he is a very good goalkeeper but he has always been injured.

"I watched him on TV and then he played in the Carling Cup Final and I saw him there.

"He surprised me with his confidence. I went to Fulham hoping to see him in the FA Cup tie but Sir Alex pulled him out.

"I will check him again during the week in training and then decide if he is going to play."

As Capello has pledged to make his maximum number of six substitutions in the friendly against Slovakia in order to ensure his team are fresh and raring to go for the crucial World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine on April 1, there must be a reasonable chance Foster will add to the single cap he won under McClaren in a friendly defeat by Spain at Old Trafford.

The 25-year-old will replace Joe Hart

in the squad, the Manchester City

youngster recently ousted from first-team duties by the arrival of Shay Given

at Eastlands.

"It is different for goalkeepers," admitted Capello, when pressed on Foster's clear status as Old Trafford understudy to Van der Sar.

"I want to get to know him and this is the first time he has been fit."

As Van der Sar has signed a one-year contract extension to play on next term, Foster has no immediate prospect of getting a regular game at United.

However, Ferguson's pledge that the former Stoke keeper will be a United - and England - regular one day appears to have won Capello over.

While Foster represents a new face, the remainder should be pretty familiar - Rio Ferdinand

, Wayne Rooney

and Steven Gerrard

are all set to be added to the squad that slipped to the 2-0 defeat in Spain last month.

The comprehensive nature of that loss seemed at the time to be a significant step backwards for the Three Lions.

But now he has had chance to look at the match again, Capello is genuinely optimistic for the future, believing it showed England can take on and beat the world's finest.

"When we lost against France (Capello's second game in charge) I said I was happy because I understood a lot of things," said the Italian.

"Now I understand even more. I know the value of my team.

"The next time we play Spain it will be different. Now I know we can play against every country in the world."

The one significant unknown remains the Wembley crowd.

Upwards of 75,000 are expected for Slovakia on Saturday evening - a pretty decent statement in itself.

But, against Kazakhstan in October and the Czech Republic a couple of months earlier, disaffected sections of the England support made their voices heard, leading to hints of a fear factor inside the home dressing room.

It is a problem that must be solved if England are to cruise towards South Africa 2010, although Capello is confident there will be no repeat of the jeering.

"The fans will help us this time," said Capello.

"We will have 12 players on the pitch. I am sure of that. We need them."

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"; Comment 1 - 1 of 1Sort comments by:Most recentfirst again and would like to add that foster deserves­ to play since he is much better than all the other­ england keepers

From saeed_wazza90, on Sat 21 Mar 11:56PM0


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