Back in May Ben Foster faced universal mockery for his decision to retire from something he didn’t actually do – keep goal for England. It was a bizarre announcement akin to a toothless granny from Pontypridd declaring she is reluctantly giving up her lucrative underwear modelling contract. Or Lenny Henry vowing to stop being funny. How the hell do you quit something you didn’t do in the first place?

The comedy continued with Foster’s choice of words to announce his strange resolution. He was taking an ‘indefinite sabbatical’. Well that’s just retirement using fancy adjectives and just because he’s glanced at a couple of words in a thesaurus before it slipped from his buttery grasp it didn’t make the decision any less of a monumental wussing out.

According to various reports at the time Foster was reluctantly recognizing the fact that he was unable to dislodge Joe Hart from the number one slot. At the age of just twenty-eight – the peak years for a goalie – he was giving up. Throwing in the towel. Conceding defeat like a cowardly, sulking prima donna chickenshit and depriving himself of further opportunities to represent his country – and being selected in the squad, training at London Colney, and being involved in matches even if its from the bench IS representing your country – and who knows, maybe one day playing in a World Cup, all because boo-fucking-hoo there was one player deemed better than he was. Oh the shock and horror, apparently you had to work hard and get past the best in order to play for your country. What a fucking inconvenience.

Joe Corrigan was an exceptional keeper who made nearly six hundred appearances at the highest level. Were it not for the fact that his career ran parallel with two even more exceptional goalkeepers in Clemence and Shilton he would undoubtedly have represented England a considerably higher number of times than the rationed nine caps he garnered.

Big Joe probably, and understandably, cursed his misfortune occasionally in private but the idea of him quitting on the chance to fulfil the highest accolade you can bestow on a footballer is inconceivable. To wear the three lions was considered an honour, whether it be a muddy training tracksuit or the pristine green jersey. So he turned up at every England occasion he was selected for, sat on the bench and screamed out encouragement, mucked in, helped out in training – improving his own rivals – and did whatever was required of him to help England’s chances at attaining success.

Why? Because he – and many, many more like him – were not like the spoilt, pampered, me me me, selfish fuckers of today that’s why. The needs of their country far outweighed their own interests.

What made Foster’s pronouncement even more staggering was that he has never had it so good. We are currently experiencing the worst dearth of domestic goalkeeping talent arguably in our entire history. Only one superior keeper to get past? Jesus, that’s nothing. One hamstring pull or blip in form and you’re in.

Back in the seventies there was an abundance of top-rate English stoppers and the mediocre Foster would have been lost amongst the Peter Foxes and Jimmy Rimmers. Back in the seventies he would have had to call Phil ‘one cap’ Parkes ‘sir’.

Does he genuinely believe that he’s been short-changed or treated shabbily at international level?

Just what exactly is Foster’s beef anyway? Does he genuinely believe that he’s been short-changed or treated shabbily at international level? Is he so deluded that he thinks he is the equal or better of Hart? Manchester United certainly didn’t think so; they sent him packing at the earliest opportunity after a string of hapless gaffes publicly exposed his limitations during a spell on the sidelines for Van Der Sar.

Talent is a prerequisite for acting like such a diva. It doesn’t ever justify it but when Shirley Bassey keeps her adoring fans waiting two hours because her nail varnish is the wrong shade at least she sang Goldfinger. Whereas Foster’s petulant strop is the equivalent of a no-mark from TOWIE throwing a hissyfit for being declined entrance into Chinawhites.

But so what, it’s his loss right? Well no because now it’s ours.

With Robert Green and Scott Carson crocked that means England go into two crucial qualifiers with inadequate cover for Hart. If Man City’s modern-day Big Joe takes ill or gets a pull or strain before this evening’s clash in Sofia then England are suddenly faced with throwing in one of two uncapped rookies who are currently plying their trade outside of the top flight. And even with knowing this, and despite regular pleadings from Ray Clemence, Foster has stood firm with his decision to broodily sulk at the insulting notion that he may have to sit for ninety minutes on a bench for the good of his nation.

It goes without saying that a country expects and demands more mettle than that so perhaps his continued absence is no bad thing. Fielding and Stockdale may not match Foster’s standard as yet but they at least presumably have a pair of testicles in their shorts.

It would be trite to evoke a different age and the sacrifices made back then so I won’t go there. But we can say with some certainly that in a sporting context at least your country needs you Foster….and you’ve chosen to once again sulk like a little bitch.