Alex McLeish believes Ben Foster can make the same impact at Birmingham as Joe Hart managed last season after completing his £6million switch from Manchester United.

The Birmingham manager is backing Foster to regain his England spot now that he will have the opportunity to play regularly in the first team at St Andrew's.

McLeish told Press Association Sport: "Joe came to us and made the position his own and I did say to (then co-owner) Dave Sullivan at the time that I wanted to buy a goalkeeper. He thought we should concentrate on outfield players but a goalkeeper can save you 15 points a season. Joe Hart did that for us and Ben Foster is capable of doing that as well."

Hart has forced his way into contention to be England's goalkeeper at the World Cup after an outstanding season on loan from Manchester City.

Foster, 27, played only a handful of games for United but McLeish is confident he can fulfil his potential at Birmingham.

McLeish added: "He now needs to get away from playing second fiddle. Edwin van der Sar looks like he could go on playing until he's about 60!

"He's a world-class 'keeper, and I'm sure Ben learnt a lot from him, but now it's time for Ben to spread his wings."

McLeish added: "Is Foster capable of getting his England place back? We think so but the two words that are appropriate are 'playing regularly'.

"I met Fabio Capello and his entourage at the Community Shield game last year, when Ben played, and the England goalkeeping coach said to me it was great that Joe Hart had joined us because he needed to play.

"That's what has cost Ben the England slot, it's because he hasn't played enough games, pure and simple. Ben is probably disappointed, he would have wanted to go to the World Cup but no World Cup manager would pick you because of your great potential. But I am sure he is capable of getting back in there with England."

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#Ben Foster
#Joe Hart
#Football
#Manchester City
#Edwin Van der Sar
#Premier League
#Alex
#Manchester United
#Birmingham