BEN Foster has handed Albion a major pre-season boost by putting pen to paper on a new long-term contract.
The England keeper has signed a four-year deal, plus a further 12-month option in the club’s favour, effectively pledging his future to the Baggies until 2019.
Foster, 31, has become an integral member of Albion’s squad and last season collected both the Supporters’ and Players’ Player-of-the-Season awards – a feat he also achieved in 2011/12.
Foster went on to make history this summer as he became the first Baggies player to represent England at the World Cup in 44 years, keeping a clean sheet in the Three Lions’ goalless final Group D encounter against Costa Rica.
Head coach Alan Irvine said: “This is fantastic news for everyone connected with the club as Ben’s an extremely important player for us – both on and off the pitch.
“He’s a great personality, a great character and leads by example.
“This is a magnificent signing for the club. Ben is one of the best keepers in the country, which he showed when he played really well for England against Costa Rica at the World Cup.
“Ben is extremely professional, which is infectious in training, as he demands high standards of himself and others.”
Foster admitted it was a simple decision to put pen to paper on a new deal.
He said: “When I signed here permanently, I said this is the sort of club I could see myself finishing my career at.
“And that’s exactly how I felt when the club said they wanted to negotiate a new contract.
“It was something I wanted to get sorted as soon as possible. I’m very happy here.
“It was a very obvious and easy decision for me and my family.”
Albion signed the Leamington-born keeper on a permanent basis in the summer of 2012, penning a three-year contract plus a further two-year option in the club's favour.
He arrived for an undisclosed fee from Blues having starred on loan during the 2011/12 season.
That year he kept ten clean sheets in 37 appearances, equalling the club record for the most shut-outs in a Barclays Premier League campaign.
Foster duly went on to enjoy another outstanding campaign in 2012/13 – making 30 Premier League outings.
In February of that season he saved a Steven Gerrard penalty in a headline-grabbing performance as Albion beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield.
Foster managed 24 appearances for the Baggies last term and played a crucial role in helping the club retain their Premier League status after four months out nursing a broken foot.
To date, Foster has made 95 appearances for Albion and earned eight England caps, three of which since joining the Black Country club.