McLeish claims Birmingham can kick-start Foster’s career

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish insists Ben Foster had to leave Manchester United to further his career.

The 27 year old, who fell down the Old Trafford the pecking order behind Edwin van der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak, has moved to St Andrews on a three-year deal and his new boss reckons he has made a wise move in returning to the West Midlands.

"It looks as if we've got another great acquisition with Ben Foster," said McLeish of the former Stoke shot-stopper.

"The goalkeeper is a massive position and we've now signed another young hungry goalkeeper who wants to prove himself and live up to his potential.

"We believe he is of the same kind of standard as Joe Hart.

"Ben's situation is similar to Joe's in that he found himself twiddling his thumbs behind another top keeper in Van der Saar.

"Goalkeepers can go on forever so that one was a losing battle for Ben.

"Ben is ambitious and wants to play regular football and naturally doesn't want to play second fiddle."

McLeish said Birmingham's goalkeeping coach Dave Watson had highlighted Foster as a good replacement for Hart some time ago.

"We were looking at it even when Joe was here in the event that we wouldn't be caught short and to steal a march on other potential suitors," the Blues manager told the club's official website.

"There were another 10 or 12 foreign goalkeepers we looked at but didn't know enough about then and we didn't want to take a risk.

"But Dave Watson is a guy I trust and have given responsibility to and he did his homework on Ben.

"He knows everything about him, although ultimately it's my decision to choose the players and the goalkeeper.

"With due diligence we've done together we know that he's a very capable player.

"We think he can make a name for himself and it's up to him to do what Big Joe did."