Ben Foster praised after the Watford keeper made a winning return to the team

Ben Foster praised after the Watford keeper made a winning return to the team
The former England international is set to start again when Newcastle visit Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Xisco Munoz has talked up the quality of Ben Foster with Watford’s veteran goalkeeper set for an extended spell in the team.

The 38-year-old was recalled for last weekend’s crunch clash with fellow newly-promoted side Norwich and produced several saves in the 3-1 win.

Daniel Bachmann had been first choice during the opening weeks of the season but was dropped after the defeat to Wolves and has picked up a knee injury, which opens the door for Foster to establish himself in the starting XI.

Ahead of Newcastle’s visit on Saturday, Xisco said: “Ben is a top keeper. We always spoke about this positive because we have three very good goalkeepers.

“The idea against Norwich was to try give balance with experienced players like Foster, (Craig) Cathcart and Tom Cleverley because they have this experience which is very good for the team.

“Sometimes you need the balance for when you have moments of the game, because in the Premier League you cannot stay in control of the game 100 per cent. Sometimes you have the moment where you feel a little problem and in this moment the experienced players make a difference.

“I thought it was a very good performance by them three, not only what we see as players but what they give for our team in terms of mentality.”

A broken finger in January saw Foster displaced by Bachman not long after Xisco had taken over and even when he returned to fitness in March he was restricted to a back-up role on the bench.

It was a similar story this season but the ex-Manchester United stopper produced an assured display in the Carabao Cup victory over Crystal Palace last month, which remains Watford’s only clean sheet of the campaign.

The majority of Foster’s career has been spent in the Premier League and no matter what happens with the Hornets this term, it could still be his last in the top flight given he is out of contract next summer.

But Xisco insisted: “Sometimes you put a stop in your head, so it depends on him, but we saw every day he has the condition to play. It depends on when you put a stop or if you want to continue. It depends on him.”

For the time being Foster is set to have possession of the number one jersey at Vicarage Road with Austria international Bachmann absent for the midweek cup tie with Stoke due to a knee injury.

It is one of the few fitness concerns troubling the Watford head coach, who is likely to have Kiko Femenia fit despite being forced off at Norwich, while Joao Pedro is making progress after a knee issue.

“Danny Bachmann has a little problem in the knee. We will see what happens about him,” Xisco added.

“Joao is near to be ready, and I think Kiko is well and we will see if he can be 100 per cent for the game.”

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