Sir Alex Ferguson sent Ben Foster on his way from Manchester United to Blues with a parting shot that was music to Alex McLeish’s ears.

After Blues have concluded a £6 million transfer, Ferguson predicted that Foster would force his way into the England team.

Foster has yet to dislodge Manchester City’s Joe Hart who, of course, starred at St Andrew’s on loan last season.

But he is fimilar in the Three Lions fold and on Premier League form, has been every bit as good as Hart.

“I knew we were getting a guy who just needed to play and even Sir Alex said to me when we signed him ‘he will be in the England team by the end of the season,’ recalled McLeish.

“He is fighting Joe Hart for that position. He is a good ‘keeper.

“If a ‘keeper makes a mistake it is normally fatal but he has learnt a lot from his Man United days, his loan to Watford. He has learnt a lot in a short space of time and is looking a very accomplished ‘keeper.”

Foster and Hart go head-to-head at Eastlands on Satuday, where McLeish will hope his man’s reflexes remain razor-sharp.

Foster’s save from Carlton Cole against West Ham United was world class.

Said McLeish: “It was a fantastic save, close in, point blank, his reaction was wonderful.

“He had agility, the speed with which he got across was fantastic. You have to be in tip top form to be able to move like that and Ben is in top form.

“He has been very steady, not only steady, but you can see from that save and the penalty save earlier in the season spectacular also.”

Foster carried on in the same vein at Stoke City in midweek.

McLeish said that he knew Foster wouldn’t be staying at Old Trafford, even though Ferguson was on the hunt for a replacement for Dutchman Edwin van der Sar.

And as for the fee, it’s not £6 million all in one hit, either.

“I don’t even know if it was that much. Sir Alex couldn’t hold onto him any longer. He had to be fair to the guy and he has done him a favour there.”