While 22 year old defender Jonny Evans is on the verge of pledging his future to Manchester United by signing a new, five year contract, goalkeeper Ben Foster has accepted the fact that he will have to leave Old Trafford if he’s going to give himself a chance of reviving his flagging career. And as far as he’s concerned his life goes on with a career at a new club.
Foster had started the current campaign with high hopes of becoming United’s number one goalkeeper and was tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson as a contender for England’s World Cup squad but the season has turned into a disaster for the 27 year old.
Standing in for Edwin van der Sar early in the season, Foster made two high profile blunders, first in the Manchester derby then against Sunderland when he was at fault for a Kenwyne Jones goal that eventually proved crucial in the title race.
Although Fabio Capello did not lose faith and picked Foster for successive internationals against Belarus and Brazil, he has slipped back to number three for United. On Monday night he was reduced to becoming a penalty shoot out hero in United’s reserve team title triumph over Aston Villa.
“You never want to leave Manchester United” he admitted “If you leave this club you are only ever going to go down but I want to be playing football. I am not interested in just hanging around and I would go if the club wanted to sell me. If they are happy to accept a bid then you have to read between the lines, accept that you are not really needed and move on. It would not be the end of the world for me”
Ferguson has said he sees Foster being part of his first team squad next season but that looks unlikely. The possibility of a loan move remains on the agenda, possibly to Birmingham if, as expected, they are not able to get Joe Hart back from Manchester City.
Foster knows he will lose out to Hart in the battle to secure a World Cup spot with David James and Robert Green also set to make the trip. “I don’t think there is any chance of South Africa now” he said. “If Capello selects me it would be very unfair on some of the other goalkeepers. I have not played a first team game for a good few months and some of the English lads out there like Joe Hart and Robert Green have been doing fantastic.”
While Fosters days at Old Trafford appear certain to be numbered, Ferguson has confirmed that Evans is on the verge of signing a new five year contract. After spending a couple of spells on loan at Sunderland Evans has made real progress in the last two seasons. The Northern Ireland international has now made 64 first team appearances, the latest coming in Sunday’s victory at the Stadium of Light and has proved himself good enough to stand in for Rio Ferdinand during the defender’s increasingly frequent injury absences.
Although there has been no formal announcement from Old Trafford, Ferguson let slip at last night’s player of the year awards that Evans has agreed a new deal which is expected to be confirmed in the coming days. “Jonny has proved himself,” said the United manager “He has a new contract which helps to provide a good foundation at the club for a long time to come”
Is Foster wise to seek a new club or should he remain at OT and try to get his career back in line?