Keeper reflects on Baggies highlights and looks forward
BEN Foster admits it was 'an easy decision' to commit his long-term future to Albion.
The Baggies announced yesterday that Foster had put pen to paper on a new four-year deal, plus a further 12-month option in the club’s favour, effectively pledging his future until 2019.
It represents a huge boost for Albion, with the England goalkeeper having last season collected both the Supporters’ and Players’ Player-of-the-Season awards.
Foster went on to create history over the summer as he became the first Baggies player to represent the Three Lions at the World Cup in 44 years.
And speaking from the club’s pre-season training camp in Sacramento, California, the popular Albion keeper insists talks were swift and straightforward.
“It was an easy decision. It’s something I was quite eager to do,” he said.
“It sees me through to when I’m 34/35 which is a very good age to hopefully still be going strong at.
“Talks started pretty recently to be honest. The club approached me just after I’d got home from the World Cup.
“I’d been on holiday for the two weeks prior to coming out to Sacramento and it was very easy, very quick negotiations. I’m very happy.
“The club said they hold me in very high regard. It’s nice to be spoken about like that. It’s nice to feel wanted and that you’re an important cog in the wheel.”
Albion signed the Leamington-born stopper on a permanent basis in the summer of 2012, arriving for an undisclosed fee from Blues having starred on loan during the 2011/12 season.
To date, Foster has made 95 appearances for Albion and some of those immediately spring to mind for the 31-year-old when he recalls his Baggies highlights thus far.
“If you’re talking about standout moments, there’s obviously beating Liverpool up at Anfield the season before last when I saved a penalty from Stevie G (Gerrard) in front of the Kop in a 2-0 win,” he said.
“But I’d also say two away games last season at Swansea and Norwich.
“The club subsidised tickets for the Swansea game and put on free coach travel for Norwich and the atmospheres were phenomenal.
“They were games we pretty much had to win and we got the three points on both occasions. The fans were absolutely amazing.
“Those games were special for us as players and I think the fans also enjoyed them. Everyone I bump into talks about how good the atmospheres were at those games.”
Following promotion back to England’s top tier in 2010, Albion have recorded 11th, tenth, eighth and 17th-placed finishes respectively in the Barclays Premier League.
And as the Baggies prepare for their fifth successive season of top-flight football, Foster is determined to help ensure the Black Country club return to more familiar footing.
“We need to kick on a bit because last season was very disappointing for everyone concerned,” he said.
“We’ve already broken our transfer record, which is great news for us and also the fans.
“We need to push on and get back to what we’re used to, which is top-ten finishes.”