Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Ben Foster’s reaction to winning the Carling Cup highlighted why he did not last long at Manchester United.
Back in 2009, United won the League Cup for the third time in their history by beating Tottenham on penalties.
The game had finished 0-0 after extra time, meaning that spot-kicks were required to decide the victors. The shootout turned out to be fairly one-sided, with United easing to a 4-1 win.
The Red Devils’ goalkeeper that day was Foster, who had a fine individual display. However, Ferdinand remembers how Foster was taken aback by the team’s lack of celebrations after the match, and the defender pinpoints that as the moment he knew that Foster would not last much longer at Old Trafford.
Recalling the event on the High Performance Podcast – who GIVEMESPORT has an exclusive partnership with – Ferdinand said: “Ben Foster, he hadn’t grown up at Manchester United. Great lad – played in the Carling Cup final. We won. He was man of the match, put in a great performance.
“And I remember, when he left the club and said: ‘I was sitting in the changing room and I looked over in the corner and the Carling Cup was just sitting there on its own. And I couldn’t get my head around it. They weren’t celebrating, there wasn’t a party. That wasn’t what I expected, what I anticipated seeing’.
“I can understand it now, but at the time I was frustrated. I was thinking: ‘And that’s why you’re not a United player. That’s why you have to leave because you don’t understand. You didn’t buy into that early enough, that we’ve got a game Tuesday – Champions League’.
“We’ve just won the Carling Cup but what are you going to do? Celebrate? And then all of a sudden put yourself at a negative starting point for the next game against, I don’t know, Roma in the quarter-finals of the Champions League? No thanks, that’s bigger, bigger picture over there. Won that, thank you. In the back pocket. See you later. On to the next one.”
Indeed, Foster did not last much longer. He stayed in Manchester for just one more season before leaving to join Birmingham in 2010. In his first year at the club, he won the Carling Cup once again by beating Arsenal at Wembley.
Ferdinand’s mentality might sound harsh, particularly given that he was coming down so hard on a player who had won the first League Cup of his career.
Yet it shows just how ruthless the United dressing room was at that point. They were simply obsessed with winning. And that meant not just winning a domestic cup, but going after the Premier League and the Champions League.
It seems that they did keep their eye on the ball on 2008/09, as they lifted the Premier League trophy for the third straight year and made it to the Champions League final where they were pipped by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
Later this month, we will see Manchester City and Tottenham battle it out for the Carabao Cup. It seems likely that the winners will be keen to celebrate their success.
However, it could be just the first part of a potential quadruple for City. If they win, will they be able to put that behind them and go on to lift further silverware? You know that Ferdinand will expect nothing less.