Wrexham manager tried to "test" Ben Foster in phone call before signing him

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Ben Foster revealed some interesting details about his conversations with Phil Parkinson prior to re-joining Wrexham (Image: Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
Ben Foster revealed some interesting details about his conversations with Phil Parkinson prior to re-joining Wrexham (Image: Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

Ben Foster has explained how Wrexham's manager ran the rule over him during a Zoom call before they agreed a deal to see him return to the Racecourse Ground.

The 40-year-old veteran was integral to the Red Dragons' successful promotion charge last term, with his addition to the team in March having proven a masterstroke on the part of owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds. However, despite his experience at club and international level, the former Manchester United goalkeeper still had to impress head coach Phil Parkinson.

The ex-Premier League stalwart had previously plied his trade with the North Wales outfit back in 2005 before he went on to star for a variety of top-flight clubs over the course of the next 17 years. He would hang up his gloves in 2022 but the offer to help his former club regain its EFL status proved too difficult to turn down.

After less than a year out of the game, his decision to return to action proved to be inspired and he kept three clean sheets in eight outings during the run-in. His last-minute penalty save in an effective title decider versus National League challengers Notts County also saw him etch his name into club history as the team edged that encounter 3-2.

Now the former Watford mainstay has revealed how the Dragons' head coach first broached the subject of the stopper potentially coming out of retirement to aid Wrexham's promotion bid. Speaking to the Athletic, he explained: "Yes, we had a chat, it was over Zoom. An agent had got in touch initially, just to ask if I was interested.

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"I ummed and aahed quite a bit before eventually saying, ‘Sweet’. This agent then says, ‘Good, because Phil [Parkinson] wants to give you a call and sound you out’. I came away thinking, ‘Am I on trial here or something?’. But I liked that. Anyway, we had the Zoom and Phil starts telling me this and that, what the club is about and a few other things."

From there, Parkinson then quickly got down to business and it soon became clear to Foster that the 55-year-old was trying to determine whether his potential new recruit was ready for the demands of lower-league football. The eight-time international goalkeeper continued: "Then there was one point where he said to me, ‘This isn’t what you’re used to, so I need to know you’re ready for this and up for it’.

Wrexham manager tried to "test" Ben Foster in phone call before signing himBen Foster was pivotal in Wrexham's successful promotion push last season and has made a big decision on his future. (Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

"I sensed he meant something when saying it, trying to read me. Test me out, if you like. Looking back, what he probably didn’t want was a throwaway remark, saying something easy like, ‘Yeah, sweet’. I sensed he wanted me to have the response of, ‘Yeah, let’s have it’. Which is exactly how I felt. That is my character anyway.

"If I say I’m doing something, I’ll give it everything I’ve got. There and then, I promised to give him everything I’ve got for the next six weeks/eight games. And that’s what I did."

As the former Old Trafford back-up alludes to, the union between both camps proved entirely fruitful, with Wrexham eventually ending their 15 year wait for a return to League Two. Foster was clearly taken in by the experience as well and penned a new one year contract off the back of the landmark season.

Tom Beattie

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