Wrexham have confirmed in a statement that goalkeeper Ben Foster has left the club with immediate effect, announcing his retirement from professional football.
‘The Cycling GK’ initially came out of retirement to return to the Racecourse Ground in March, helping the Welsh side gain promotion back to the Football League for the first time in 15 years before signing a new one-year-deal for the 2023/24 season in League Two.
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However, after just four league matches this season, where he has conceded 13 times, the former England keeper has decided it’s now time he hangs up his gloves.
“The honest truth is that my performances this season haven’t reached the level I demand of myself, and I feel that now is the right time to retire.” He said.
“At the forefront of my mind when making this decision, was not only what was best for me but also the club, and making the decision now gives the club every opportunity to assess their options before the window closes.
“Wrexham will always have a special place in my heart”.
His decision comes less than 48 hours after he conceded five times for the second time in League Two this term, as Wrexham came back from 4-1 down at HT against Swindon at the weekend to draw 5-5 in a incredible match on Saturday. His return to the club after nearly 18 years wasn’t all doom and gloom though, after he put in some fantastic performances last season, including a last minute penalty save in a 3-2 win against Notts County, as the Welsh side finally made it out of the National League.
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It brings an end to an incredible career than has seen Ben Foster make 547 appearances across 22 years for 10 different clubs, including 390 in the Premier League. The former Man Utd, Birmingham, West Brom and Watford keeper has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the English top flight since records began back 2006/07 (1,248) and is one of just four players to make 1,000+ saves, alongside Petr Cech, David de Gea and Lukasz Fabianski. With the recent departure of David De Gea and Lukasz Fabianski being replaced by Alphonse Areola in the West Ham goal he may keep, his record for a long time to come.
Foster is also just one of two goalkeepers to make 170+ saves in a Premier League campaign with Rob Green.
Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson was also full of praise for the 40-year-old, saying:
“Ben has been the model professional while at Wrexham and has done everything we have asked of him. “It takes a big person to make the decision he has and one who really understands this Football Club, with the timing of his decision.
“I am sure I speak for everyone, when thanking him for his contribution that went far beyond that one magnificent penalty save against Notts County to help us gain promotion last season.
“Wrexham AFC was a better place for having Ben Foster around the Club.”