Manchester United keeper Foster hoping his next break is a lucky one

27 February 2009 01:42
Thirty years have passed since Manchester United

fielded a consistently reliable English keeper and Ben Foster knows that he has some way to go before he proves himself to be the next.

Alex Stepney — who played 433 times for United between 1966 and 1978 — was with the party that flew to Milan on Champions League duty this week. So, too, was Foster.

And, after watching current United No 1 Edwin van der Sar keep another clean sheet against Inter at San Siro, Foster, 25, admitted that it is time he proved himself an Old Trafford first-choice keeper of the future.

In with a shout: Ben Foster is hoping to be a big noise at Wembley on Sunday

'It's been an absolute nightmare from when I came back here from being on loan at Watford,' said Foster. 'It just seemed to be injury after injury. Now I seem to be putting a run of fitness together.

'I'm training every day, my body feels good, and I'm playing the odd first-team game here and there which is good for me.'

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For Foster — earmarked some time ago as a future England keeper — the occasional United game has been very much his diet this season. His next, however, should be Sunday's Carling Cup final at Wembley against Tottenham.

Currently competing with the Poland goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak for the position of Van der Sar's understudy, he is expected to be given the nod by Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson for Sunday's game.

'It is a good opportunity to win a medal,' added Foster, who has played only six United games since signing for the club in 2005. 'If I do play, it will be absolutely fantastic.

'All the lads are buzzing. Those who are in contention cannot wait for it to come. It would be a special day for me if I could play in it and win it. Sunday could be a bit of a stage for me to remind people of what I am about.

'When I finished at Watford I had a little bit of a reputation as a decent up-and-coming goalkeeper and in the last couple of years because of circumstances I have faded away almost.

'It is a good chance to get my name back out there and people can see that I am still around and still a good goalkeeper.'

Sunday's opponents considered taking Foster on loan from United in January as Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp looked for a replacement for his erratic Brazilian Heurelho Gomes.

Immovable object: Van der Sar's form has limited Foster's chances

In the end Redknapp took Carlo Cudicini from Chelsea and Foster was left to do his best to win a new contract at United — his current deal expires in the summer — and move on from a string of injuries that included a cruciate knee problem and a broken thumb that kept him out of United's squad for the World Club Championship in Japan last December.

'When I got my cruciate I knew I was going to be out for a year — that was acceptable in some way,' Foster recalled.

'But when you get fit and then go over on your ankle and are out for six weeks and are back for a month and then you break your thumb well that just makes it seem like it is going to be one thing after another.

'I don't want to be tarnished with the tag of being an injury-prone player. Nobody wants to be tarred with that. I have just been unlucky.

'I broke my thumb, for instance, in training. It was probably the last catch of the training session and the ball moved a little bit in flight and it caught my thumb on the end, stubbed it and broke it. It was just before we went to Japan. It was the day before and so I missed out on that trip.

'The way my career has gone so far has been a bit dramatic and up and down. I started in non-League after being a chef then I went to Stoke, went out on loan to all these mad, obscure teams and battled my way through to sign for the biggest club in the world.'

In fact, his move to United eventually came after spells on loan at places such as Bristol City, Tiverton Town, Stafford Rangers and Kidderminster Harriers, so if he were to enjoy his day on Sunday then there will be few who would suggest he did not deserve it.

'To play on Sunday would be an unbelievable bonus and a massive up for me. It has been heartbreaking to watch United win things when I cannot be involved.'

 Getting United and Spurs fans to battle it out at Wembley is a great shout

Test for police on Mancunians' day trip to London as United meet Spurs and City face West Ham

CARLING CUP FINAL SPECIAL: They've met before a trip down sport's memory lane with Manchester United and Spurs

MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET





 

Source: Daily_Mail