Ben Foster scarred by injury
West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster concedes he faces a huge challenge psychologically to overcome the worst injury of his career and prove he can be England's first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup in Brazil.
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Foster, 30, has spent four months out injured at a time when Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson's No. 1 Joe Hart has been struggling for form and lost his starting spot at Manchester City.
Had he been fit, the West Brom keeper would likely have featured in the recent friendly defeats against Germany and Chile at Wembley, but he is still unlikely to return before the New Year.
That will leave Foster the second half of the season to recapture his excellent form shown before he broke a bone in his foot -- just by placing weight on the joint -- during a game against Everton earlier this season.
The England international attributes the injury to the way he has been forced to modify his running style after two operations on cruciate ligament injuries in his right knee during his time at Manchester United.
He returned to training last week and admits the psychological aspect and the trauma he has suffered will be his biggest battle as he looks to win a place in Hodgson's squad for next summer.
"That [the cause of the injury] makes me worry a little bit. Now I’m back to full training I’ve always got it in the back of my head how easy it went in the first place," Foster told the Birmingham Mail.
"It takes a lot of getting over mentally; just getting back into the full swing of things and diving about. You’ve just got to try and trust it, trust the scans, which say it is healed and clean. I’ve just got to try and forget about it -- but it is hard. I’m trying to learn to put it to the back of my head.
"The four months I’ve just done have been a horrible time. It’s probably been the worst injury I’ve had in terms of being limited to what you can do in your rehab. The injury was super unusual. I did it just by going to run, which is incredible. That was probably the least exertion I put on it that day. I made saves, I’d kicked, I’d done all sorts but it was just a little run that broke it.
"I’ve done my cruciate twice on my right knee and the way I run on that leg is different to how I run on my left. It might protect my knee more but perhaps it’s put more stress on my foot and been a factor. It was incredible. I just went to push off, I felt a crack and that was my bone breaking. I threw the ball out, did a few sidesteps and the pain was immense.”