stand-in goalkeeper Ben Foster will have the chance to stake his claim to be the successor to David James when he is named in Fabio Capello's England squad on Sunday for the friendly against Slovakia and the World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine.
But Foster will be left in no doubt that he will either have to unseat Edwin van der Sar as Old Trafford's No 1 or seek first-team football elsewhere if he is to go to the 2010 World Cup.
Capello has only watched Foster play live once - at the Carling Cup final earlier this month - but the goalkeeper's confident display and penalty shoot-out heroics against Tottenham were enough to convince the Italian to break his own rule about picking only players who appear regularly for their clubs.
In favour: But Foster must get first-team football
Capello said: 'Previously I selected Joe Hart after Manchester City had signed Shay Given, but this time I want to select Foster because I want to know him very well.
'When I arrived here, all the managers and all the people that work in football told me that Foster was a very, very good keeper. But he was always injured. I watched him on TV and live once at Wembley. He surprised me with his confidence, with everything.'
James has impressed with recent displays, but long-standing concerns about his decision-making and ability to inspire confidence in his defenders remain.
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Capello wants Foster to work with goalkeeping coach Franco Tancredi, as well as former England keeper Ray Clemence, to see whether he would be capable of challenging for a position in the England starting line-up.
Foster, who has made only one Premier League appearance for United in more than a year, is likely to play a part in Saturday's friendly against Slovakia, winning what would be his second cap, following an appearance in a friendly against Spain in February 2007.