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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Clarke lauds faultless Foster

West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke hailed the performance of Ben Foster after a faultless display in the 0-0 draw against Stoke City further justified his England recall.

Last Updated: 17/03/13 at 09:07 Post Comment

Steve Clarke: Believes Ben Foster deserves his place in the England team

Steve Clarke: Believes Ben Foster deserves his place in the England team

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Foster is back in the national squad for the first time since May 2011 ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro later this month.

He staked a claim for a place in England boss Roy Hodgson's starting line-up with a dominant performance in the face of an aerial bombardment from Stoke, and Clarke believes being given the nod ahead of Joe Hart would be nothing less than the 29-year-old warrants.

"He deserves it," the Scot said. "He has had a good season for us. He is a good goalkeeper and it can only be good for England that all the good players make themselves available - and that is what Ben has done.

"As a team we defended fantastically in front of Ben, but Ben's handling was faultless today."

The draw against Stoke was a drab affair, with both sides struggling to create chances and string passes together.

Clarke admitted it was an unappealing spectacle, but welcomed the point.

"It was a game of very few chances, a scrappy game," he said. "If the games were like that every week, we wouldn't have full houses.

"It was a hard-earned point. We defended well. We tried to get the ball down and play, but Stoke made it difficult for us to make passes. It was a long afternoon watching a poor game.

"It is a difficult place top come. We defended well, we were strong. The positive for us is a clean sheet and point away from home."

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