Foster relishes 'perfect' storm

Hampshire Chronicle: Ben Foster is set to start for England against Ecuador on Wednesday Ben Foster is set to start for England against Ecuador on Wednesday

England were met by heavy storms on their first day in Miami, but goalkeeper Ben Foster insists the humidity meant it was still the "perfect" conditions in which to step up World Cup preparations.

It was hot and sweaty when the Three Lions landed in Florida on Sunday evening, yet the weather would have changed vastly by the time they woke up in the United States the following morning.

Torrential downpours and blustery conditions forced Roy Hodgson to move his side indoors but, despite that, Press Association Sport understands the England coaching staff were happy with their session at Barry University.

England's goalkeepers Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and Foster did spend some time outside as the others did gym work, with the latter admitting the hour they spent on grass was "real hard work" due to the humidity - something England will face in their Group D opener against Italy in Manaus, deep in the heart of the Amazon.

"Obviously we had a bit of a storm before we went out, but it was always going to be kind of a light session," Foster said.

"The goalies managed to get out and do a bit but, thankfully, the pitches actually drain pretty quickly anyway so it wasn't too much of a problem.

"It is perfect (for acclimatisation), actually. I think the main thing is the humidity. I don't think the temperature is a real problem, it is just the humidity.

"It is pretty identical to what we're going to face in Brazil, so it is bob on, really.

"I don't think the rain was a major problem because obviously it was a long journey yesterday, so it was more of a kind of a loosener today more than anything."

England will train at Sun Life Stadium on Tuesday, ahead of their friendly international there against Ecuador the following day.

Foster is set to start against the South Americans and, while he knows his place is as Hart's back-up, he cannot hide his excitement about heading to a World Cup.

"This is my first major tournament," he said. "It is incredible.

"Obviously when I got the text message a couple of weeks ago, it was pride more than anything for all of my family, my mum and dad and I've got a couple of brothers and sisters as well.

"That was the overriding feeling straightaway, which was the pride from all of them. All the text messages, tweets and nice things like that. It is absolutely fantastic.

"It is my first tournament and I am 31 years old, so it may be my last chance at a World Cup as well so I am over the moon."

Foster's place in the squad heading to Brazil marks quite the turnaround for the West Brom goalkeeper.

After winning five caps in four years, the goalkeeper retired from international football in May 2011, only to be persuaded back by former Baggies manager Hodgson.

Foster returned to action against the Republic of Ireland in May 2013 and has no regrets for putting family ahead of national team duties.

"The reason that I kind of took a break from it a few years ago was mainly down to the fact I had two very, very young children," he said.

"Basically, I had two kids under a year old so for me at the time it was a huge wrench kind of being away from them.

"Whenever I was away with the squad all I kept thinking about was just wanting to be back home with the kids and the family.

"It was a bold decision, really. I definitely thought about it a lot, don't get me wrong, and I'd stick by it as well. It is something I wouldn't have changed, even now.

"But with Roy, he's fantastic. He is a real kind of people person. I think he understands and gets footballers are not just machines, they're not just a footballer and that is it.

"They've got a personal life as well, they've got families, they've got kids.

"He understands that and he gives you time to go and see them and spend time with them.

"He gives us a few days off here and there to get with them and that is what people really do appreciate."

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