Wrexham sign Ben Foster on free transfer as ex-Man Utd & England goalkeeper comes out of retirement to join non-league outfit

Ben FosterGetty
  • Wrexham find Rob Lainton replacement
  • Foster comes out of retirement
  • Back for second spell with the club

WHAT HAPPENED? The National League outfit were forced to hunt for a new goalkeeper after seeing first-choice shot-stopper Rob Lainton sidelined for six weeks with a major injury. Wrexham have managed to bring on board 39-year-old Foster, who hung up his boots in September 2022 after a spell at Watford. Foster took in a loan spell at Wrexham while on Stoke City's books in the early stages of his career, and expressed his excitement upon his return to the Racecourse Ground on Thursday.

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WHAT THEY SAID: "I’m over the moon. I’ve been at the Club an hour this morning and it seems a really nice place. Everyone is down to earth and the manager’s top class," he said. "It’s changed a lot since I was last here, but it’s nice to be back and it’s nice to be back as a player too. It will be interesting to see how my body feels after training today! I’m looking forward to getting started.

"The first time I was here, it was genuinely the springboard to the rest of my career – on the back of the loan move, playing in the LDV Vans Trophy Final at the Millennium Stadium, I got my move to Manchester United at the start of the next season. It was absolutely bonkers!

"If you’d told me 18 years ago that I’d have gone on to have the career that I have had, I probably wouldn’t have believed you to be honest so I do owe a lot to Wrexham."

Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson added: "We’re delighted to welcome Ben to the Club. With Rob Lainton getting injured at the weekend, it was important we had all bases covered going into the last part of the season, which this signing ensures."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Foster made 17 appearances in his first spell at Wrexham and played a key role in their 2005 Football League Trophy success before joining Manchester United. The shot-stopper also played for Birmingham City and West Brom, while winning eight caps for England at international level.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Wrexham, owned by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, are currently leading the National League standings and find themselves on the cusp of gaining automatic promotion with just eight matches to play. Foster's experience should come in handy at the business end of the season as the keeper boasts of playing 524 matches at senior level across his 22-year career, with 140 clean sheets recorded in the Premier League.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

Ben Foster 2022-23GettyBen FosterGettyBen FosterGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR WREXHAM? The Dragons are set to host York City in a National League fixture on Saturday, with Foster in line to make his second debut for the club.