Foster should be England's World Cup No.1, says West Brom boss Mel

The Spanish manager has full confidence in the former Manchester United shot-stopper, who ended his self-imposed international exile in 2013 but is yet to feature this season
West Brom manager Pepe Mel says Ben Foster should be England's first choice goalkeeper for the World Cup in Brazil.

10/1 West Brom are 10/1 with PaddyPower to beat Crystal Palace 2-1
Foster made himself unavailable for international selection under Fabio Capello in 2011, but reversed his decision last year and was named in two of Roy Hodgson's squads in the second half of the 2012-13 season.

Although he has not featured during the current campaign, Mel believes Foster, 30, is ready for the biggest international stage.

"Ben Foster for me is the best goalkeeper in England," Mel told reporters. "He's good on the ball - it's important for me - and I'm sure that when the other team cross the ball, [for] Ben Foster, no problem.

When asked if the former Manchester United keeper should be England's No.1 this summer, Mel replied: "For me, yes, but the goalkeeper at [Manchester] City, Joe Hart, is a good goalkeeper too.

"For me, Foster is the best, but it's normal I say this because he's my player, but he is a very, very good goalkeeper."

Mel also confirmed that Craig Dawson will start in place of Diego Lugano against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Dawson, who spent two months with Bolton last season, had looked set for another spell on loan in the Championship after struggling to break into the West Brom squad under Clarke, but Mel believes he is ready for a starting role.

“Dawson, for me, is the future at West Brom," he added. "He is a very good, strong centre-back and his mentality is very good.

"He wants to play matches. But now I think it is better here because in London we need Dawson to play.

"Dawson's confidence is important for me. This match is a good test for him. He is ready."