Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brilliant Ben Deserves Grand Finale at Wembley

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brilliant Ben Deserves Grand Finale at Wembley

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

GAVIN MAHON claims playing in Wembley's FA Cup showpiece in May would be the perfect finale to Ben Foster's time at Watford.

England goalkeeper Foster, on loan from Manchester United, will not be allowed to play in the semi-final against the Premiership leaders should they beat Middlesbrough in Monday's quarterfinal replay.

Mark Ashton, the club's chief executive, said: "We have an agreement with United as part of the loan agreement that Ben won't play against them in any competition this season."

Watford skipper Mahon, singled out for praise by manager Aidy Boothroyd after Sunday's 1-0 win at Plymouth, said: "I was speaking to Ben on the journey home and he said he didn't mind who we drew in the semi-finals as long as it wasn' t United.

" I f we are to play United, I'm sure Ben will be egging us on to get through, even if he is their player. Getting through to the Cup Final would be the perfect way to top off his two years on loan with us.

"He has been a massive player for us, last season when we won promotion and this one. I expect he will be playing for England at the new Wembley before long, but it would be great if his first game there could be for Watford."

With relegation looming after only one season in the Premiership, Watford have been dismissed as no-hopers after the semi-final draw. But Ashton served up a reminder of Watford's capacity to spring surprises.

He said: "Eighteen months ago, when we said we'd appointed somebody called Adrian Boothroyd as manager, nobody believed us. If we'd said we'd be promoted 12 months later on the lowest playing budget ever, we wouldn't have been believed. Six months ago, if we'd said we'd be sitting in an FA Cup semi-final, would we have been believed?

"Anything is possible with this club. We have a winning mentality and it is about winning whatever competition we're performing in. …

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