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Feb, 28, 2013

Clarke: Foster to end England exile

West Brom boss Steve Clarke has confirmed Ben Foster is ready to return from a self-imposed international exile and has set his sights on being part of England's bid to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Foster has held talks with England manager and former West Bromwich Albion coach Roy Hodgson regarding a return to the international ranks.

He took himself out of England reckoning after his last game for his country - a 2-1 defeat by France in November 2010 because of family reasons and fitness issues.

But the WBA 'keeper, who has been in excellent form this season for Clarke's side, now wants to add to his five caps and provide pressure to Manchester City 'keeper Joe Hart and Stoke City's new signing Jack Butland.

Foster could be called up for next month's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro and Clarke confirmed: "Ben spoke to me about it last week and his reasons are good.

"He's had his little time out that he wanted to spend with his young family, which you can understand and respect. He also had some injury problems that he felt needed time during the season to help him recover and get from game to game.

"His family is a bit older now and I think he's getting a few days off in the international break and finding his kids are at school, so he has a little bit more spare time on his hands. And he's obviously got ambition as well. He wants to make himself available for his country again.

"But he explained to me he wanted to play for his country again and he would like to play in a major tournament, which is something I regret in my career, having not played for Scotland in a major tournament.

"He's at the peak of his form and he's proved he's international class in the past and, if selected, I'm sure he'll prove it again.

"The injury problems he had a couple of years ago are gone, by and large, and he's in great shape and what better place to go and play in a major international tournament than Brazil."

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