England keeper targets October return
ALBION goalkeeper Ben Foster has been ruled out for six months after damaging cruciate knee ligaments in the recent victory over Stoke City.
The 31-year-old England keeper underwent reconstruction surgery on his anterior cruciate ligaments yesterday after the damage was discovered during an exploratory operation.
Foster, who has become one of the mainstays of Albion’s defence during the club’s recent Premier League years, has targeted a first team return in October of next season.
But the news is a hugely disappointing blow for player, club and country, Foster having emerged as national coach Roy Hodgson’s first-choice understudy to Joe Hart.
Foster limped out of the Stoke game in the second half and initial examination suggested cartilage damage and a month’s absence from duty.
But it was agreed that if surgeons found more substantial damage during Friday’s surgery repairs would be carried out at the same time and the Albion favourite awoke to be told of the lengthier absence.
Dr Mark Gillett, who as Director of Performance heads up Albion’s sports science and medical team, says: "Ben is in good spirits despite this obvious disappointment to him – he’s already talking about his ‘rehab’ and wanting to get started on it immediately.
"But he has had a cruciate reconstruction of his left knee following the injury against Stoke and he will be out for six months.”
Foster suffered similar damage in his right knee early in his career, making a full recovery to establish himself as one of the top keepers in the Premier League.
Albion will now look to Foster’s clubmate and close pal Boaz Myhill to continue his recent impressive form – the Welsh international was outstanding during the Baggies 10-man battle against champions Manchester City – with Under 21 graduate Jack Rose continuing as understudy.