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Ridgewell wants permanent Foster deal

Ben Foster

Liam Ridgewell believes Ben Foster is a match for England number one Joe Hart and has urged West Brom to sign the on-loan goalkeeper on a permanent basis from Birmingham this summer.

Foster produced a crucial double save during Saturday's 3-0 win over Blackburn, a result which effectively ensured Albion another season of Barclays Premier League football. Foster's future is still very much in the balance, with Birmingham waiting until the end of the season to make a decision on his transfer status.

Ridgewell said: "I think the whole team would like to keep Ben Foster. If we want to take this club forward, we've got to keep the likes of Ben Foster and he is a great player for us. I sense Ben would like to stay here. I know him well and he is settled here and hopefully the club can keep him and Albion can sort it out."

The defender added: "He is a Birmingham player but it is a different team to when he played there. I'm sure Ben would like to stay here and keep playing here because he is doing really well."

Foster opted not to make himself available for England selection a year ago but Ridgewell is adamant his quality is similar to that of Manchester City's Hart.

He said: "England have got two great keepers in Joe Hart and Ben. I've played with them both at Birmingham and there is not much between them and they are two both great keepers.

"Fozzy stopped with England for his reasons - he wanted to prolong his career after his injuries. If he keep playing like he is, hopefully he will keep going. He just wanted to concentrate on his club career and he has been fantastic."

Ridgewell was relegated with Birmingham last season and pinpointed the qualities in the Baggies squad that is likely to see them beat the drop.

He said: "The biggest factors are not losing your head and staying together as a team and just trying to graft out as many results as you can. You look at all the teams and everywhere is a difficult place to go and you think, 'where are the results going to come from?'

"But the main thing is to keep the team together and fight as much as you can. If you keep doing that, and still go down, you've got to give a nod to the other teams."