BEN FOSTER is happy to have been allowed back into the England fold, but he says the pressure on him was so intense three years ago that he would have considered retiring even if he was number one.
Eight years after being given his first call-up, Foster will be handed just his seventh England cap tomorrow when he starts against Ecuador in the squad’s penultimate World Cup warm-up game.
Despite a wealth of Premier League experience, Foster has always found himself behind Paul Robinson, David James, Rob Green and now Joe Hart.
But failure to break into the England team was not the reason why he called time on his international career.
The West Brom goalkeeper says he could not stand the thought of being away from his two new-born children at the time, and he has no regrets about walking away.
When asked whether he would have done the same had he been England number one, Foster said: “It’s something to think about. It’s a big question, that.
“Family is really important to me.
“(Not playing) genuinely wasn’t the reason. It was the fact I had a new-born baby and another child under a year.
“They’re like sponges at that age, taking everything in, and it was too much to deal with.
“All I was thinking about was being back at home with the family, and it was affecting my football.
“I’ll always stick by my decision. Things always happen for a reason. I’d not change it.”
Foster was widely criticised in the game for turning his back on England, but he insisted he always knew he would return once his children were older.
Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager smoothed Foster’s return to the national side and now he is preparing to play under his old West Brom boss at the World Cup.
“I was always going to come back to the team if the manager was happy to have me, and thankfully the manager was,” he said.
“It’s fantastic now to be in a World Cup. Getting to West Brom with Roy helped my case. When he gave me the call, it was a very easy decision.
“The kids were a bit older, four and five, and it’s easier to be away from them. It was an easy decision to come back in.
“Roy understands people and that footballers aren’t just machines.”
Foster knows an impressive performance against Ecuador will not mean he starts against Italy in Manaus on June 14.
That does not disgruntle the West Brom stopper. He respects the England number one and insists he and Fraser Forster are fully supportive of the Manchester City goalkeeper.
“We know that Joe is number one,” Foster said.
“Our duty is to get Joe not only mentally but physically prepared for that first game against Italy.
“Whatever we can do in between now and them to get him right, whether that’s staying behind to do some shooting drills, we’ll do and we will always be there for him.
“I’d put Harty up there as one of the best in the world.”
Foster will train with the rest of his England teammates at the Sun Life Stadium today.
Yesterday’s training session was predominantly held indoors due to thunderstorms in Florida.
Hodgson and his coaching staff did not mind doing so after a day of travelling on Sunday.
Frank Lampard has confirmed he will seek a new challenge after returning from the World Cup in Brazil after bringing an end to his 13-year association with Chelsea. The 35-year-old issued a statement lasat evening in which he revealed he has played his last game for the Blues. Lampard has already been linked with a move to New York City FC but gave no immediate indication as to what the future might hold, instead choosing to thank those who helped him make such a success of his career.