Former Manchester United star has ‘no regrets’ over rejecting Newcastle United summer move

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The former Manchester United goalkeeper turned down Newcastle United before announcing his retirement.

Had things worked out a little differently then it could have been Ben Foster in between the sticks for Newcastle United at Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

With Nick Pope serving a one-match ban following his red card against Liverpool last weekend, and Martin Dubravka cup-tied, Loris Karius is expected to start for the Magpies at Wembley.

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The former Liverpool goalkeeper was signed as a free agent in September after Karl Darlow - now on loan at Hull City - picked up an ankle injury in training.

Newcastle approach Foster before signing Karius

But before approaching Karius, Foster told the story of how Eddie Howe’s side came knocking.

“The phone rings [from his agent Richard Lee], ‘Fozzy they’ve done it, they’ve agreed the contract, they’ve just sent it through. Everything you wanted. They want you up there tonight, they’ve already booked the hotel and you’ve got your medical in the morning’,” Foster explained.

“I had this gut feeling saying ‘do not do it’. I was eating my dinner and just decided ‘no, I’m not doing it’. I thought about it enough. I know it was only one or two hours since the offer was concrete but I’m not doing it.

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Former Premier League goalkeeper Ben Foster. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)Former Premier League goalkeeper Ben Foster. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Premier League goalkeeper Ben Foster. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

“It sounds mad and it’s such a hard thing to explain because there’ll be millions of people up and down the country that will say ‘you’ve just been offered a contract, a really good contract, by the richest team in the world to go and be second choice goalkeeper and be part of something.’

“But I just didn’t want to do it, I had this deep feeling, and the wrench of it was that I’d have to move away from home, that would kill me.

“If I’m in an apartment in Newcastle by myself, away from my family, I don’t think people can understand. That’s hard to do, especially at the age I am and with everything else I’ve got going on.

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“I know for a fact if I’d have gone there I’d have had an amazing time, the lads would have been absolutely brilliant and I’d have buzzed off the stadium, the fans, all that kind of stuff, but the overriding sinking feeling was ‘I don’t want to do this.’”

Any regrets?

After turning down Newcastle, the 39-year-old announced his retirement after 22 years in senior football. But after missing out on a Wembley final against his former club Manchester United, are there any regrets?

Foster replied: “I saw Nick Pope get sent off at the weekend and even then I felt so sorry for him. It’s horrible. It’s kind of that goalkeeping instinct, I know he’s missed his header but once the ball touches his hands he can’t help him but want to bring it into a nice warm space and give it some love.

Newcastle United's English goalkeeper Nick Pope (front L) reacts after receiving a red card during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 18, 2023. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United's English goalkeeper Nick Pope (front L) reacts after receiving a red card during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 18, 2023. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United's English goalkeeper Nick Pope (front L) reacts after receiving a red card during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 18, 2023. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

“No regrets from my side. I’m quite happy with what I’m doing. I think I’m too stiff anyway, I’d hate to be wheeled on national TV looking like an old man!”

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Foster has backed Karius to perform in what will be his first competitive appearance for almost two years.

“I think people need to remember and realise that Loris Karius is still a very good goalkeeper,” Foster added. “I think he has been tarnished with this brush as a calamity keeper since that Champions League final. He’s carried that burden and weight with him.

“If it is Loris Karius that does play, I’d like to see him have a really steady and solid game. I think everyone expects it to be a walk in the park when he’s in goal and that won’t be the case because he’s still a quality player.

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