Alex McLeish said there were no regrets all round when Ben Foster moved from Manchester United to Birmingham City in the summer.
With United now stepping up their search to replace Edwin van der Sar, who is likely to retire at the season’s end, if Foster had stayed put he would surely have got his big chance.
But Foster was at a stage in his career where he needed to move and play and Sir Alex Ferguson knew he couldn’t hold him back.
“I don’t think there are any regrets,” said McLeish.
“Sir Alex knew it was time to let him go. He couldn’t hold him back any longer. He needed first-team football.
“He’s the master of knowing when to sell people and when to hold on to them. In this instance, it was good for Ben.”
And it has been good for Blues, too. For an initial £4 million (rising to £6 million), Foster has been one of the buys of the season.
He has softened the blow of losing Manchester City loanee Joe Hart.
And Foster has been earning plenty of praise, with a few envious glances cast towards St Andrew’s.
McLeish added: “Ben’s playing to his capabilities and he’s making my team better.
“Just like any of the other players, if they are attractive to other clubs then they must be playing well in this team and that’s going to augur well ultimately for the team.”
Foster has insisted he made the right decision and said he wouldn’t let the plaudits go to his head.
“I’m very happy with my form, been training well, but I’ve been getting lots of practise with lots of shots in some games which I suppose the team won’t be too happy with, but it’s going well,’’ he said.
“Am I getting more credit here than at United? I think so. At United, if you’re playing you are expected to be one of the best players in the world in your position. Simple as that.
“So playing well is what you should do anyway. So perhaps here you do get more credit for playing well.
“I see match reports and read ‘unbelievable save from Foster’ when it was just routine. I’m like ‘don’t get carried away it wasn’t that good’.”
Foster said he was revelling in the less pressurised atmosphere at Blues – even though they are in the midst of a relegation battle.
“Yes I’m having more fun, that’s the huge part of football. It’s tough at United and in training it’s very serious,’’ he continued.
“I’m not saying it’s not professional at Blues but there is more of a relaxed atmosphere here.”