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Clarke: Foster's back in England frame

PUBLISHED

14:30 28th February 2013

Baggies boss confirms No.1 has again committed himself to international duty

STEVE Clarke has confirmed Ben Foster has paved the way for an England recall.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper last played for his country in a 2-1 defeat by France in November 2010 before deciding to put his international ambitions on hold for family reasons and fitness issues.

But the Hawthorns No.1 has made himself available for selection again and could now be involved in the squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, as he looks to add to his five caps.

“Ben spoke to me about it last week,” said Clarke.

“His reasons are good.

“He’s had his little time out that he wanted to spend with his young family, which you can understand and respect.

“He also had some injury problems that he felt needed time during the season to help him recover and get from game to game.

“His family is a bit older now and I think he’s getting a few days off in the international break and finding his kids are at school, so he has a little bit more spare time on his hands.

“And he’s obviously got ambition as well.

“He wants to make himself available for his country again.

“But he explained to me he wanted to play for his country again and he has a burning desire to play in a major tournament, which is something I regret in my career, having not played for Scotland in a major tournament.

“He’s at the peak of his form and he’s proved he’s international class in the past and, if selected, I’m sure he’ll prove it again.

“The injury problems he had a couple of years ago are gone, by and large, and he’s in great shape.

“And what better place to go and play in a major international tournament than Brazil.”

And on battling out with Joe Hart for the England No.1 shirt, Clarke added: “Competition for places is great.

“I was at the Man City-Chelsea game last week and Joe Hart looked good to me.

“He was strong, confident and made a good save from the penalty, which probably won the game for Man City.

“I think if Chelsea had scored at that stage they would have got something out of the game.

“Good healthy competition for places can only be good for Roy [Hodgson] and the England team going forward.”

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