Ferguson urges Foster to be patient

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed Ben Foster will be rewarded with the England goalkeeper's jersey if he waits patiently for his chance at Manchester United, the AFP reported.

The 24-year-old produced a match-winning display in the European champions' 1-0 win against Orlando Pirates here on Tuesday.

United, who fielded several youngsters against the South African team, emerged victorious thanks to Lee Martin's first-half goal in the Absa Stadium, but it required two impressive second-half saves by Foster, from Lebogang Mothibantwa and Joseph Makhanya, to secure United's victory.

The once-capped England keeper has recently returned from a cruciate knee ligament injury that restricted him to just one senior appearance for United last season and boss Ferguson admits that the former Stoke City goalkeeper has all the attributes to become his country's first-choice for years to come.

Ferguson said: "I can see Ben being England's goalkeeper for the next few years and his return to fitness is good news for England.

"With David James, a really experienced keeper, back in the England squad, it shows that a young keeper like Ben has got a real chance.

"But Edwin van der Sar has been one of the best goalkeepers of all time and he will start the season in goal for us at United.

"Edwin is approaching 38, but he could easily go on until he is 40. Ben is young and has at least 15 years ahead of him, so there is no need for him to panic because his time will come."

The speed of Foster's return from injury last season surprised United and Ferguson, whose side drew 1-1 with Kaizer City Chiefs in their opening match at the weekend, admitted that he was caught out by the youngster's rapid comeback from the second cruciate injury of his career.

Ferguson said: "We didn't expect Ben back so quickly and that is why I did not name him in my European squad for the Champions League.

"When we saw the way he performed in his one game for us at Derby, it was something of a regret, but we were fortunate in that we had Edwin and Tomasz Kuszczak, so we weren't too bad in that department. Ben has real ability, though, and he will certainly be challenging for a first-team place this season."

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