Birmingham's Ben Foster halts England career

Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster has made himself unavailable for England duty for an indefinite period to help prolong his club career.

The 28-year-old has been the number two to Manchester City's Joe Hart since last year's World Cup but has had a series of injury problems.

Foster said: "Performing at the highest level game in, game out... really takes it out of your body.

"I'm certainly not closing a door on the international side forever."

Foster was left out of the England World Cup squad by coach Fabio Capello last summer but impressive performances for Birmingham this season earned him a recall.

Inevitably, every time I've had the opportunity to give my body a rest there has been an international fixture

Ben Foster

Foster's fine form was one of the key features behind Birmingham's Carling Cup final win over Arsenal.

However, Blues have struggled in the Premier League this season and are still not safe from relegation, sitting three points clear of third-bottom Blackpool, with two games remaining.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper has been forced to pull out of the England squad because of injury this season and said getting a proper rest period between games was the primary reason behind his decision.

"It's no secret that I've had a few niggling injuries and that I've had to pull out of the past few England squads because of that," explained Foster, who signed for Birmingham from United on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee last May.

"Inevitably, every time I've had the opportunity to give my body a rest there has been an international fixture and the demands that come with that.

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"I've spoken to the management team and coaches here at Blues and told them what I want to do but it's also very important that I say just how much I have loved playing for England and being part of the set-up.

"In Joe Hart, England have a goalkeeper who is extremely talented and a top guy and he is an excellent custodian for the national side to have. I have no doubt he is going to go on to be one of the greatest.

"But this is the right decision for me as I want to prolong my club career for as long as possible."

Foster made his England debut in 2007 in a 1-0 defeat by Spain and his last England appearance came in the 2-1 loss to France at Wembley in November 2010.