Family-man Foster grateful for World Cup chance

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 03, 2014, 08:55 AM IST

Miami: England goalkeeper Ben Foster has thanked manager Roy Hodgson for giving him a second chance with the national team after he put his family before international football.

Foster opted to `retire` from the England set-up in May, 2011 after the birth of his second child left him struggling to justify the extra time away from his family to sit on the bench behind Joe Hart.

But Foster, who played under Hodgson when he was manager of his club side West Bromwich Albion, returned to the England team last year and is now looking forward to his trip to Brazil.

"Roy, as a manager, one of his huge plus points is he understands people and that footballers aren`t just machines. It`s not football, football, football.

"We have kids and family. It`s hard to be away from families, especially at a World Cup. But it`s a World Cup, a big deal. We`re so happy to be here, we really are. But that`s definitely one of Roy`s big points. He`s personable. He understands," said Foster

"I feel very fortunate to be back in the squad and going to a World Cup," he added.

Foster, 31, said he didn`t regret his decision to spend time with his kids rather than push on with his career with England.

"It was a very big decision but I had a newborn baby and another child under a year old. Family is a very important thing for me and it felt like I was missing out on them growing up.

"I knew there would be criticism and people were entitled to criticise because most would give their right hand to be at a World Cup. But, even now, I stick by the decision. I`d not change what I did.

"Being second-choice genuinely wasn`t the reason. Kids are like sponges at that age, taking everything in, and not being around was too much for me to deal with.

"Whenever I went away, all I was thinking about was being back at home with the family, and it was affecting my football. It`s a kind of home sickness, really," he said.

Most of his family supported his decision, but Foster smiles as he remembers the reaction of his brothers Brett and Adrian.

"My mum and dad were supportive, my sister too, but my brothers were: `What are you doing?` They are Sunday League players. They were like: `What are you thinking?` I could completely understand it. It`s their opinion, that`s fine. I knew what I wanted to do."

Not only is Foster accepting of his role as number two keeper but he believes it is healthy that there is no real open competition for top spot behind Hart.

"Coming to a World Cup, you need to know you have your own role and that there`s a pecking order in the goalkeeping unit.

"We know that Joe is number one. Our duty is to get Joe not only mentally but physically prepared for that first game against Italy. Whatever we can do, whether that`s staying behind to do some shooting drills, we`ll do."