When the stories first started about Manuel Almunia playing for England, I was rather taken aback that Arsenal could have a goalkeeper in his 30’s who’d yet to pick up an international cap. I suppose I mustn’t have been paying attention to Mad Jens’ rants when he lost his place to Almunia, but it certainly suggests the Spaniard is punching above his weight by holding down a first team place with the Gunners.

Arsenal went through a similar problem at a similar time to United. It was around 2005 and United were chopping and changing between Tim Howard and Roy Carroll as their number one. After a brilliant first season, which saw Howard as the best keeper in the Premiership, a major lack of confidence seemed to fuck up his season. This lead to Carroll being drafted in, but he was quite simply awful.

Wenger was having similar difficulties with Jens Lehmann and Almunia, yet it appears the latter was given more chances and Arsenal kept him, whilst United shipped out both of their keepers.

So now it appears that Almunia also wants to keep Ben Foster’s gloves warm and play for England, leaving Rio none too happy.

After living in the country for four years and marrying an English bird, Almunia now can claim British citizenship. After being kept out of the Spanish team by Iker Casillas and Jose Reina, he fancies a shot as England’s number one.

“In the future, if Spain do not call me then I have to look after myself and try to play international duty,” he said at the start of the year, leaving Ferdinand to believe Almunia shouldn’t be given a shot, regardless of how poor David James, Scott Carson and co. are.

“That’s for The FA to decide but I’m sure if he was picked for Spain he would play for Spain in front of England,” he said. “So if that happens I don’t think it’s really working right. If Spain had picked him now and he had a choice of playing for Spain or England who is he going to pick? I’m sure he’d pick Spain so that means he is not English.”

Eloquent as ever, Rio. What do you make of it? Surely it’d be good for a laugh.




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