League Cup hero Foster signs new contract with United

LONDON: Ben Foster was rewarded for his goalkeeping heroics in Manchester United's League Cup penalty shootout victory last season when he signed a new four year contract with the Premier League champions on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old is seen by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as the natural successor to present incumbent Edwin van der Sar, despite having a season where he battled against a succession of injuries.

"We are delighted that Ben has signed a new four-year deal," commented Ferguson.

"Ben is seen as one of the best young goalkeepers in England and we genuinely see him as a successor to Edwin van der Sar."

Foster conceded that with Dutch great van der Sar still at the club that it may compromise his chances of making England's World Cup squad if they qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals but was still happy to commit himself to the club.

"I'm really happy to commit my future to the club," said the former Stoke and Watford goalkeeper.

"The team spirit here is fantastic and working alongside Edwin and Tomasz (Kusczak) has been a great influence on my career."

Foster, who is considered a potential England number one, had surgery on a ruptured thumb ligament in May which ruled him out for the final month of last season.

That meant the twice-capped England international missed the Champions League final against Barcelona and the World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra in June.

Foster, who missed most of the 2007/08 season following cruciate ligament surgery, has been unfortunate with injuries having also suffered an ankle ligament injury just a few weeks into last season.