Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A good break for Ben?

Ben Foster, the man who for so long and so patiently waited in the shadows of Edwin Van Der Sar might finally have got his big break at Old Trafford.

The English stopper, who so many had hoped and expects to be the future No 1 for his national team, will no doubt be geared up for the start of the season now that VDS will be out for up to eight weeks following a broken finger suffered in the Audi Cup against Bayern Munchen.

The talented Foster, who I rate really highly, needs to have a great start to the season to maintain his place in the team when VDS recovers. I think Fergie will allow Foster to continue playing in place of VDS if he has a great start, considering the fact that VDS is already 38 and Fergie will want to un-earth his replacement soon. This can be a tricky task when it comes to keepers; just look at the number of keepers who have staked their claims to the number 1 jersey at Man Utd after the retirement o the great Peter Schmeichel.

Mark Bosnich, Fabian Barthez, Roy Caroll and Tim Howard have all failed. Not until the arrival of VDS have the issue been resolved.

Which is why this opportunity is now critical for Foster for he must now perform to his true ability. For so long hailed as a serious candidate as the future England keeper, Foster has all the technical abilities to be great. He however needs to work on his mental side of the game and learn to perform under pressure. He had a great heroic outing in the Carling Cup Final, winning Man Utd the Cup almost single handedly against Spurs. However, his errors in the pre-season friendly in Asia against Malaysia proves he still need to work on his concentration during the game.

Playing behind a settled defense with the likes of Vidic and Ferdinand providing excellent cover means that he may be a spectator for larger periods of the game, especially when Man Utd is dominating the lesser teams. Thus, he needs to be focused and perform well when called into action.

I have been surprised that Foster has chosen to stay at Old Trafford after his largely impressive loan spell at Watford when the team was in the Premier League. For a player who is already 26, he really needs to be playing 1st team soccer or he will soon find himself not being able to fulfill his huge potential.

How much longer can he be in the shadows of VDS and be considered a great prospect. If he fails to oust VDS for the starting role this season, he has to consider leaving Old Trafford to further his career. Foster must really be getting desperate now.

If he has a great season, I am sure he will push David James really hard for the England shirt in South Africa next summer, as I think Fabio Capello does not rate Robert Green and Paul Robinson.

The other highly talented keeper in contention, Joe Hart, will also be hoping to impress at Birmingham City. (He is on loan from Man City)

However, my money is on Foster to have a great start and this could really be a big season for him.

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