Foster: Hodgson a big factor

  • Last Updated: March 4 2013, 8:57 GMT

Ben Foster has revealed a more relaxed atmosphere under Roy Hodgson is one of the reasons for his return to the England set-up.

Ben Foster: Available again for England
Ben Foster: Available again for England

The 29-year-old West Brom goalkeeper announced last week he was making himself available for international selection having previously retired from England duty when Fabio Capello was in charge.

He said: "At the time it was very, very serious with Fabio Capello, we weren't allowed to go out of the hotel and we weren't allowed visitors.

"I was playing with a lot of niggles and my kids were born around that time as well, so they were about one and two so it was hard for me to go away for a week or ten days and not see my kids or family.

"It was too much of a big miss."

Foster believes England players are enjoying life more under Hodgson, with whom he has previously worked at West Brom.

"With Roy in charge, that's a big draw for me," he said. "I know what Roy is about and just from talking to a few of the lads since he took over he's so much more relaxed round the England set up and under Fabio it seemed to be a little bit too negative."

He added: "Roy has brought that factor of wanting to be there. Roy has brought a lot more optimism and the lads seem really happy to be called up and be involved now."

Foster's club manager Steve Clarke believes England counterpart Hodgson faces "a nice problem" now Foster is back available to represent his country.

Clarke has hailed Foster as "international class" and the 29-year-old produced another fine display in front of Hodgson during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.

Clarke said: "For sure Ben is international class. He has already represented his country and proved that in the past.

"Now he is available for selection again, I'm sure he will prove that in the future.

"Ben is top class, has been great for us all season, is available for England and I'm sure that gives Roy a nice problem."

Clarke refuses to be drawn into the debate as to whether Foster is on a par with current England number one Joe Hart.

He said: "It is all subjective. Ben has been great for us, his recent performances have been outstanding.

"I don't see Joe Hart week in and week out. For me to judge, it doesn't really matter what I think.

"What matters to me is Ben is my number one keeper and has been in great form recently."

Clarke believes Foster is in better shape physically than two years ago - one of the reasons why he opted out of playing for his country after a chronic back complaint.

He added: "The problems he had two years ago are gone by and large. They are clear.

"He's worked hard this year and diligently away from the games as well, doing extra training and has got himself in a great shape."

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