Manchester United FC goalkeeper Ben Foster is determined to make the most of a rare opportunity to displace Edwin van der Sar in the holders' goal when Aalborg BK visit Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
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Ben Foster must have listened with interest as Sir Alex Ferguson devoted a considerable chunk of his press conference on the eve of Manchester United FC's meeting with Aalborg BK to detailing the progress of a talented young prospect.
The "outstanding" full-back Rafael was the object of Sir Alex's praise but while the 18-year-old Brazilian, who has been keeping Gary Neville out of the team, may actually sit out Wednesday's final Group E match, Foster himself is expected to start and will hope to show his manager he too can be trusted to replace one of the team's veterans. The 25-year-old deputy to Edwin van der Sar would be making his third appearance of the campaign against AaB – having started the UEFA Champions League visit to Celtic FC and last week's League Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers FC – and he is desperate to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way.
"It is good to see that it can be done – when young players come in and show what they can do in training and then get given the chance in a game where they do well and get kept in," he said, citing Rafael's example. "If I get my chance, I know that if I do well I am going to get in as well." Foster, who also faces rivalry from Polish international Tomasz Kuszczak, became the first Englishman to keep goal for United in the UEFA Champions League since Gary Walsh in 1994 when he stepped out for the 1-1 draw at Celtic Park last month. Yet he has had to wait patiently for his opportunity after returning to Old Trafford following a successful two-year loan stay at Watford FC from 2005-07 during which he collected a first senior England cap.
Back in the swing
"It is nice to be involved finally," admitted Foster, who appeared just once in 2007/08 and is yet to add to that solitary international appearance. "Last season I had a bad injury and was out pretty much the whole of the year so I didn't really have any complaints about being left out. It takes a while to get back into the swing of things but I started well this season and have been involved in a few games." With his manager telling journalists that the beauty of life at United is that "a young boy can come in and take anybody's place", then a strong showing from Foster against AaB should ensure opportunity comes knocking again.