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Players: Ben Foster

Ben Foster warming up

Benjamin Foster was born on the 3rd April 1983 in Leamington Spa. He is 1.88 metres tall and is a goalkeeper for Manchester United. Ben started his career at Racing Football Warwick where he spent just one season before joining Stoke City. Foster never played a single match for the Championship side and spent all four seasons out on loan at lower league clubs.

 

In June of 2003, Ben was playing tennis when he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury. He had to spend six months out of football. Foster was sent out on loan to Wrexham in 2005. It was here that Ben was spotted by Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson’s son Darren also played for Wrexham at the time, and Fergie was in the stands watching his son’s team play in the LDV Vans Trophy Final of 2005. Wrexham won the contest and Fergie was really impressed by Foster’s potential, that he was ready to pay £1 million to buy him from Stoke City.

 

Sir Alex decided that it was in Foster’s best interest that he played regular first team football to continue improving his abilities. This was impossible at Manchester United, as Foster was not yet of the high standard of first-team keeper Edwin van der Sar. Hence, Fergie sent Foster out on loan to Championship side Watford. Foster spent two seasons at Watford, helping them to clinch promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the club.

 

In June 2007, Foster had to undergo surgery on a persistent cruciate ligament injury in his right knee. This was a huge setback in his career, considering he aimed to challenge van der Sar to the position of first team goalkeeper on his return to Manchester United. Foster’s willpower to get back into football helped him to recover relatively quickly and start light training by the end of the year 2007. Ferguson did not want to rush back his young protégé into action, and he did not plan to field Foster in a league game this season.

 

However, an injury to Edwin van der Sar and the suspension of Tomasz Kuszczak, both happening during the FA Cup defeat against Portsmouth, gave Ferguson no other choice but to play Foster against Derby on the 15th March 2008. This was the day that Ben Foster made his much-awaited debut for the Red Devils. Although Man Utd were expected to win by a clear margin, they were given a hard time by Derby. It was thanks to Foster that Manchester United did not concede any goals in the match. Ben impressed everyone by making two exceptional saves and keeping a clean sheet. Maybe Foster is not yet ready to challenge Edwin van der Sar, which could be seen from his inability to clear away simple back passes from defenders, but it seems that he is able to challenge Kuszczak.

 

Foster’s main attributes are the distance he can get from goal kicks, his impressive physique, his shot-stopping skills and his confidence at set-pieces. He is also still very young. He may just be the England goalkeeper of the future and potentially one of the world’s best ever goalkeepers.

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