UNITED goalkeeping legend Alex Stepney insists that Ben Foster will not need to be a first-team regular at Old Trafford this season to earn a place in England's World Cup finals squad. Joe Hart, one of Foster's rivals for an England World Cup call-up, left City for a season-long loan at Birmingham because he feared being in the shadow of Shay Given at Eastlands would damage his international chances. But Stepney - one of the heroes of United's 1968 European Cup triumph - believes Foster has already done enough to secure a place in Fabio Capello's squad should England qualify for next year's World Cup finals. Says Stepney: "Edwin van der Sar will probably still be Sir Alex's first choice goalkeeper in the coming season. "Even at 39 Edwin still believes he can play at the very highest level or he wouldn't have signed a new contract. "But that shouldn't worry Ben. For a start he's still in his mid-20s and probably hasn't even reached his peak yet. Opportunity "I can't believe that Edwin will go through an entire season without picking up an injury of some sort and when you get to that age your recovery rate slows down. "As usual United will have a crowded fixture list and Sir Alex will rotate his players as he always has done in the past. "So Ben will have plenty of opportunities over the season to show the England manager what he can do. "But to be honest with you I think he's already done enough over the last couple of years to cement a place in the World Cup finals should England get through. "I don't think he's got too much opposition. He would certainly be my first-choice keeper if I was managing England. "Ben just needs to be patient. "He's certainly got the talent to become a great goalkeeper for both club and the country."