Foster can challenge Hart claims Clemence

Ben Foster is being tipped by England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence to push Joe Hart for his country's number one position now he is playing regular first-team football.

Hart benefited from a season-long loan at Birmingham and has been Fabio Capello's first choice keeper for the opening three internationals of the current campaign.

But Foster has gone down the same route in moving from Manchester United to St Andrew's in a £6million summer move.

He has started the season in fine form for Blues and Clemence believes he can push Hart all the way in the battle for the England jersey.

Clemence told Press Association Sport: "Ben is injury free, which he hasn't been for a number of seasons, and like Joe Hart last season, he is playing regular football.

"If I looked at Joe in the first two months of last season, I could see decision-making errors because he hadn't been playing regularly.

"During the last two months of last season he was as good as anyone in the division, and playing regularly gives you those opportunities.

"But I am sure that Ben can push Joe. Joe is young, he wants to learn, is enthusiastic, has got great technical ability, is a good distributor of the ball which you need as a keeper these days.

"Ben is now playing regularly and is capable of pushing him and that's what you want as a manager."

Clemence added: "You don't want someone who gets comfortable in there.

"You want whoever is in there be pushed and to keep him on his toes and keep learning.

"As talented as he is, Joe is still young in goalkeeping terms.

"There are still the occasional blips. There will be but they will hopefully fewer and further apart because that's what the great keepers do."

Clemence believes Hart and now Foster have benefited from working with Birmingham's goalkeeping coach, Dave Watson.

He said: "Dave played under-21 football himself and got finished with a bad knee injury.

"I was up at Birmingham recently and Dave is a very good coach and an excellent communicator with the keepers.

"He has a good training programme which Joe benefited from and I am sure Ben is as well.

"There is a good relationship between all the keepers and Dave Watson. It is a nice set-up."

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