It hasn’t been easy being Ben Foster in recent years. The hugely promising youngster was snapped up by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in July 2005 and spent the next two seasons out on loan at Watford earning many plaudits with Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd claiming “he’s better than the current Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar” and that he could be “the best goalkeeper in the world.” Sir Alex too has lavished praise, claiming that Foster will eventually inherit not only the first choice goalkeeping role at Old Trafford, but also eventually for the English national team too.
Which makes it all the disconcerting for Foster to reach the age of 26 and still find himself considered to be back up at Old Trafford behind veteran Dutchman Edwin Van Der Sar.
As Manchester United ready themselves for tonight’s European Champions League clash with Besiktas, Foster will take little confidence from the fact that he has been an ever present for the Red Devils thus far this season, as this has only been the case due to Van Der Sar suffering a thumb injury that has kept him out of the first team. Most experts and fans believe that as good as Foster is, it is Van Der Sar who remains Manchester United’s undeniable first choice.
In addition to this, there have been murmurings of disquiet of late from several sources who claim many United fans feel Foster is in no way good enough to take over from Van Der Sar, when the venerable Dutchman finally does quit. The club have been linked with talented young keepers like Manuel Neuer of Schalke 04 and Igor Akinfeev of CSKA Moscow over the past day or so, which heaps more pressure onto the shoulders of the current incumbent of the United goalkeeping jersey.
That is why tonight, in the Turkish cauldron, Ben Foster may well need to produce a performance of maturity, skill and ability that perhaps will convince those doubters that he cannot live up to his expansive billing. The youngster certainly feels now is the time to stake his claim.
“I’ve really enjoyed being involved so far. It’s what I have wanted.
“When you have a solid run in the team, you can look forward to games in advance and settle down a bit more.
“I’m happy with what I’ve done so far and hopefully there’s more to come.
“Obviously the World Cup is in sight at the end of the season and it’s therefore important that I do well in any games I play.”
Tonight in Istanbul, may well be a crucial turning point in Fosters aspirations. Or do you feel it is just another game for him until Van Der Sar returns?
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