The year of the Foster hasn’t quite gone to plan
Last March, Ben Foster had only ever started one league game for Manchester United and yet somehow, on the strength of one penalty save in the Carling Cup Final, developed a reputation as a superstar.
Fabio Capello was wowed by the display and breached his own guidelines later that month to cap Foster in a friendly against Slovakia, despite the fact he wasn’t playing regular club football.
Being talked up so much in the press without actually achieving much was always going to prove problematic, especially when an Edwin van der Sar injury in pre-season provoked articles about how Foster would prove so successful that the Dutchman would never get the shirt back.
When Capello was asked what had impressed him about the 26-year-old, he said: “He plays without fear and with confidence.” His assuredness has since been eroded though by a series of horrendous blunders.
First there was the embarrassing pre-season mistake against a Malaysia XI where he failed to control a backpass, then disaster in the Community Shield, later followed by humiliation against Manchester City and most recently the screw-up for Sunderland’s second last weekend. Rumours in the press suggest the latter was the catalyst for a “furious dressing room bust-up” between the keeper and Sir Alex Ferguson.
His absence from the latest England squad – supposedly with a chest complaint – is bad, whatever the reality. If the injury is legitimate, then it shows he still has huge problems staying fit, if not, it shows that he has lost Capello’s trust.
Things may get even grimmer with van der Sar now ready to return after completing a reserve game. Rumours that Manchester United have enquired into the availability of Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar will do nothing to help the confidence of the 26-year-old.
Like all the best rumours, it was started by the Brazilian’s wife, who blogged that he had been “bombarded by offers from a big club”. His agent Josias Cardoso helped us add two and two together by stating: “United have shown an interest in Julio.”
The good news for Foster is that Cesar has no intention of leaving the Italian champions and is negotiating a new contract. However, the fact the Red Devils are looking suggests that he has failed his audition.