England goalkeeper and former Leamington school pupil Ben Foster announces his retirement after a highly successful career in professional football

Ben, aged 39, who played for Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Watford announced his decision on his podcast this week
Ben Foster. Picture supplied.Ben Foster. Picture supplied.
Ben Foster. Picture supplied.

Former North Leamington School pupil Ben Foster has announced his retirement from professional football.

Ben, aged 39, who played as a goalkeeper for Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Watford and won eight caps for England announced his decision on his podcast and Youtube channel The Cycling GK this week.

Ben, who played for Racing Club Warwick, started his professional career at Stoke City but it wasn’t until he had a loan spell at Wrexham that he was spotted by his then manager’s father the legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson who signed him in the summer of 2005.

He spent two years on loan at Watford, for whom he helped win promotion to the Premier League before spending the next three seasons at Utd where he twice won the League Cup.

He had a two-year spell at Birmingham City from 2010 and again won the League Cup with them before signing for West Brom in 2012.

He was with The Baggies for six seasons before he re-joined Watford in 2018.

He played a total of 519 games in his professional career - the last being Watford's final home game in the Premier League last season.

He said that this summer he had been offered a tempting and lucrative deal by Newcastle United as a free agent but he turned the offer down because he did not want to live away from his family - who are still based around Leamington - as a second-choice goalkeeper.

He told the podcast: “Deep down I didn't want to do it [join Newcastle].

“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.”

Ben’s podcast, which he often broadcasts from a studio at 1 Mill Street in Leamington, is based around his passions for both cycling and football and has 1.2 million subscribers.