West Bromwich Albion v Everton: Ben Foster focused on grabbing World Cup spot after injury comeback

Goalkeeper is now back in action and hoping to reassert his World Cup claims

Ben Foster still winces at the memory of the last time he faced Everton.

It was the second game of this season at Goodison Park and after a series of fine saves in front of England manager Roy Hodgson, the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper felt something suddenly click in his right foot. “I went to push off and run and felt a click and that was it,” he recalled. “I tried to do a side-foot pass across my box and I nearly collapsed. I knew straight away it was serious.”

Foster had suffered a fractured navicular bone, an injury that can be career threatening. Happily he is now back in action and hoping to reassert his World Cup claims when Albion face Everton again at the Hawthorns tomorrow. “I just want to push on now and have a good season with West Brom and then go to the World Cup,” said the 30-year-old.

“If it had happened to an outfield player it’s really touch and go whether you can keep going,” he added, explaining the severity of the injury. “It’s such an important bone and takes so much weight through your foot. I remember the doctor saying if the pin doesn’t take, and the bone doesn’t knit, then you’re looking at fusing the bone together and a year out.”

Foster returned to action in late December with Brazil firmly in his thoughts. He won the first of his six England caps against Spain in February 2007, and after ending a self-imposed two-year international exile last February is eager for the World Cup place that eluded him in 2006 when he was on Sven-Goran Eriksson’s stand-by list. “I’m 30 and I’ve never been to a major tournament. I’ve been fourth-choice and back-up goalkeeper. I remember when I was on loan at Watford and had to come home from holiday to join up with the squad. I was buzzing just to be there. Hopefully it will be my first major tournament and I want to see what it’s all about.”

His immediate task is to impress his new boss, Pepe Mel. The Spaniard, in his official unveiling on Thursday, offered echoes of Julio Geordio, the Spanglish-speaking footballer from the Harry Enfield show, as he told TV reporters:  “Fútbol es a language international” – yet he is fast earning his new players’ respect.

“We were told his English wasn’t great, but the first day he gave a full meeting on what he wants to do,” Foster recounted. “To stand up in front of 30 people and speak in a language that is not your native tongue is quite impressive. The lads got up and he almost got a round of applause.”

Mel’s aim is to play a more attacking game, Foster adds. “I would definitely say he wants us to push up a lot higher and start from the front. I am sure his ethos is that the best form of defence is attack.”

Like Foster, Mel has his own unhappy Everton memory – his Real Betis side lost a pre-season friendly there in August – and if Albion are to fare better in his first game in charge, the goalkeeper knows they will have to keep Romelu Lukaku quiet on his Hawthorns return. “It’s just a shame that we couldn’t get him back here,” says Foster of the Belgian forward, whose goals – 17 for Albion last season – have been sorely missed. “We wished him the best when he left because he was a great lad as well as being a great player.

“The fans will give him a really good reception because he did so well for us – he scored a bucket-load of goals and gave his all on the pitch. He’s going to become a monster star and I’m like everyone else, I don’t have a clue why he’s not playing for Chelsea this season.” Football is full of puzzles but Foster’s own motives could not be clearer.

Anelka to learn fate this week

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka will learn the outcome of the FA investigation into his controversial “quenelle” goal celebration within the next 48 hours, writes Simon Hart.

An FA spokesman confirmed that a “substantial update” on the case would come “on Monday or Tuesday”. Albion play Everton tomorrow night and Anelka would be unable to play if the FA pronounce before the game and impose a ban. It is three weeks since Anelka made the gesture – after scoring at West Ham – in support of Dieudonné, a French comedian who has convictions for anti-Semitic remarks.

West Bromwich Albion v Everton is on Sky Sports 1 tomorrow, kick-off 8pm

 

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past