Gary Neville.

Foster: What Neville told me about England

Tuesday 29 March 2022 10:00

Ben Foster has revealed what Gary Neville told him about playing for England, after the goalkeeper broke into the Three Lions' squad during his early days at Manchester United.

Foster is the latest guest on the UTD Podcast and provided an honest assessment of his time with the Reds, including making the step up to Old Trafford, after impressing Sir Alex Ferguson during a loan spell at Wrexham.

A first England call-up for Foster came in 2006 from ex-United assistant manager Steve McClaren, during the keeper's first loan spell with Watford - where now plays on a permanent basis.

Gary Neville and Ben Foster together at United.

"At the end of the second year at Watford, I got called into the England team as a standby goalkeeper so I saw the standard of what England was like," Foster revealed.

"It was quicker, it was faster, everyone was stronger. I had a feeling of what it would be like when I got back to United.

"It's funny because Gary Neville always used to say to me: ‘listen, if you can play for United, playing for England is a doddle.’

"My problem was that I couldn’t play for United, so playing for England was a problem! Even at that time, the level at United was probably better than the level at England. That’s how good United were at that time, properly in their pomp, the big boys doing it week in, week out relentlessly.”

Foster also recalled meeting Neville on his first day at Carrington, when being shown around by Sir Alex, even though it was a Sunday and a day off for the United players.

"We went into the gym, and [although] everyone has a day off, Gary Neville is on the treadmill running," added the keeper.

"And, in usual Gary Neville style, he [Sir Alex] went: ‘Gaz, this is Ben’ and Gaz, still running, just said ‘Alright?’ and did nothing else!" 

Listen to the Ben Foster episode of UTD Podcast now in the United App.