McLeish lauds fantastic Foster

McLeish revealed Sir Alex Ferguson told him Foster would be back in

the England team by the end of the campaign when completing the

£6million switch from Old Trafford. Foster has been a model of

consistency and produced what he described as the best save of his

career to deny Carlton Cole during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West

Ham at St Andrew’s. McLeish said: “That was a fantastic save, close

in, point blank, and his reaction was wonderful. He had agility,

the speed with which he got across was fantastic. “You have to be

in tip-top form to be able to move like that and Ben is in top

form. “You can see from that save and the penalty save he made

earlier in the season that his form is spectacular. “I knew we were

getting a guy who just needed to play and even Sir Alex said to me

when we signed him ‘he will be in the England team by the end of

the season’. “He is fighting Joe Hart for that position. He is a

good ‘keeper.” McLeish added: “If a ‘keeper makes a mistake it is

normally fatal but Ben has learned a lot from his Manchester United

days and his loan spell at Watford. He is looking a very

accomplished goalkeeper. “It was great we were able to do a swift

deal with Manchester United. “At the time, everyone else was okay

for ‘keepers so we had no real competitors. “A new ‘keeper was top

of the list after Joe Hart did so well last season and Sir Alex

couldn’t hold onto him any longer. “He had to be fair to the guy

and he has done him a favour there.” Birmingham have won only twice

this season in the Barclays Premier League and McLeish knows there

has to be improvements in defence and up front. He said: “I am not

too unhappy with the performances. Results-wise I believe we should

be three or four points better off but I guess any manager in the

Premier League will probably say that. “I feel we have

uncharacteristically lost some goals which we shouldn’t lose

because the one thing we prided ourselves on last season was the

defensive aspect of things. “The guys got a lot of shut-outs and it

is time to get back on that sort of trail as well. “But we’ve also

got to be more of a threat at the other end of the pitch to take a

bit of the pressure off the defenders.” McLeish is considering

handing a start to Chile winger Jean Beausejour after recovering

from his knee problem. The former Scotland boss said: “He lacks

match-fitness but when is he going to get match-fitness? I have to

consider him. “He is the one out-and-out winger we have and we have

to change the dynamics of the team to get the service to Cameron

Jerome and Nikola Zigic. “If they are in the team, that’s his type

of game. “We will try and get him as much involved in the action as

possible over the coming weeks.” McLeish has no fresh injury

concerns ahead of tomorrow’s match with Tony Pulis’ side. Colin

Doyle will continue to act as back-up for Foster while Maik Taylor

nurses a shoulder injury which caused him to be ruled out of the

weekend draw with West Ham.