Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster has given his honest appraisal of playing against Mo Salah, admitting after his wondergoal at Vicarage Road that “he just worries you.”
At 38 and with 368 Premier League games under his belt, Foster finds himself in a rare period of clarity as a player still operating at the top as he nears his 40s.
With Watford‘s No. 1 making forays into YouTube as the Cycling GK, he has allowed his personality to shine through more in recent years, giving a glimpse into the everyday life of a top-flight footballer.
It is often far from as glamorous as many expect, with Foster vlogging from hotel rooms and team buses, along with interactions with players before and after games.
Speaking to the Mail after Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool, the veteran gave an insight into an afternoon up against Salah – who, despite a series of stops from Foster, ended the game with another incredible strike.
“His feet are so quick,” Foster said of Salah’s goal.
“Players are scared to dangle a foot in and try to tackle him because it’s just asking for a penalty.
“You catch him, flip him and in the box he is over so it is an absolute nightmare.
“I didn’t really see it. I remember three or four players around him…and him dribbling it around two, three, four, and then he used one or two bodies to shield my vision of the ball and stuck it in the corner, it was very good.”
The debate over Salah being the world’s best player has intensified this campaign, with the Egyptian widely considered to be operating above the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Jurgen Klopp certainly thinks so, and Foster agreed as he gave the goalkeeper’s perspective.
“As a keeper, you think, ‘Oh my God, don’t let him shoot’,” he continued.
“Ronaldo, for example, if he’s within shooting distance of the goal he can make the ball go up and down, dip left and right.
“Seeing that up close and personal against Liverpool, I wouldn’t disagree with Klopp’s assessment that he is one of the best players in the world at the moment.”
However, while Ronaldo’s inactivity played a pivotal role in Man United‘s 4-2 collapse at Leicester later on Saturday, Foster pointed out Salah’s work ethic as a “rare quality” in a world-class forward.
“There are times when he gets the ball that as a goalkeeper he just worries you,” he added.
“He can do anything: go inside, outside, drop a shoulder, his movement is incredible.
“And his work rate, that’s the bit I like the most. He is so willing to run, so willing to work, it is a rare quality in a player with all the other attributes as well.”