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Rio Doesn’t Want Arsenal Keeper With England

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.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Tom14 says:

    Brilliantly placed next to his “kick racists out of football” speech…


    I wanna see Ben Foster in net for England on a permanent basis, just hope he can get fit soon, and push EVS.

  3. Sue says:

    Manuel Alumnia cant be any worse than what England have now – and as for him not being English I seem to recall a certain Canadian going by the name of Owen Hargreaves playing for England.

  4. Mic says:

    Hargreaves is a different matter, he always knew he wanted to play for England, that’s why as a youth he didn’t bother with Canada even if Englands midfield did seem beyond him. Almunia on the other hand, well I personally don’t think he’s any better than Robinson, James, Green or Carson, i’d rather give them play time rather than someone who’s poor for club and not good enough for country.

  5. Erichero says:

    Not an ideal situation. But then England sport does have a problem on this question. When your cricket captain is a reject from another country, then you know you have issues.

    Technically there are no problems with his selection, but if I was an Englishman (which I’m not), I’d far rather have my local boys in the team, and that’s coming from a Gooner who thinks that Almunia can do no wrong at the moment.

  6. Sue says:

    Not the point is it – Hargreaves isnt English FULL STOP

  7. OP says:

    The point is Hargreaves is English. Both parents are English and his Dad played for Bolton.

    His parents moved to Canada in the year of his birth. If I moved to Berlin and had children they wouldn’t be German.

  8. Sue says:

    He has a Canadian birth certificate not a British one.

  9. OP says:

    Sue the other point is that Hargreaves is a good player, Manuel Alumnia isn’t!

  10. OP says:

    So you have seen his birth certificate now?

    Also it is passport not birth certificates that dictate nationality.


    <—– Laughin at OP’s last comment… ……… Sue you gotta admit he is right with what he is saying

  12. OP says:

    Just to reveal the absurdity of your comments Sue, are Bergkamp’s children English? They were born here and have British birth certificates?

    Same probably true of many more player’s kids. The answer is no of course they are not.

    I do take exception to Lennox Lewis and Greg Rusedski, though – but who cares Deco isn’t portuguese.

  13. Sue says:

    OP you are clueless when it comes to other nationalities. It is a well known fact Owen Hargreaves has a Canadian birth certificate. He only got a British passport due to where his parents came from.

  14. A MAN UNITED FAN says:


  15. OP says:

    Which brings us right back round to Bergkamp, Schmeichel, Vidic, and many other foreign players in the PL – are all their children English – NO

  16. RoCaFella says:

    Sue shut the fuck up. y0u b0ring n0w, y0u really cant c0mpare Hargo to almunias situati0n.

  17. Stephen says:

    John Barnes was born in Jamaica, is he English Sue?


    Sue i think you just got tag-teamed off Roca and Ops…. lol…

  19. Scott the Red says:

    Tom14 – you are a moron. Rio wants the players who represent England to be ones the ones who regard it as a priority. Almunia has said he would prefer to play for Spain. What the fuck has Rio saying what he has got to do with racism?

  20. Stephen says:

    Scott, couldn’t have put that better myself.

  21. grime says:

    rio aint fucking englsih neither , he is of african decent. fucking muppet,

  22. Stephen says:

    grime, oh dear.

  23. Deering Tornados says:

    Nationality has nothing whatsoever to do with where you were born, and what it says on your passport.

    Nationality is something that’s chosen by an individual – most of us don’t actively make a choice because we’re born where our parents were, and lived there all our lives.

    For people with parents of dual nationality, or born in another country to their parents (or even people with aquired citizenship like Almunia), they have the choice, and most will either actively or passively make it based on the country they feel most connected with.
    Like Scott said, if he’s given the choice between Spain and England he’ll choose Spain – therefore he’s Spanish and should be ineligable for the English national side.

    If Hargo feels like he’s English, then he’s English. If he feels Canadian then he’s Canadian. Clearly he’s English.


    Tornado… may the gust of wind be with you ..

    Well said mate.. i agree

  25. Jade says:

    1 ) I have issues with Almunia because this is a man who’s wavering back and forth with his nationality and will obviously play for whichever country lets/chooses him. It smacks of a mercenary attitude. This is in contrast to Hargreaves, who made it clear that whatever country he was born in, he was going to choose England because of his parents (or other, unrevealed reasons).

    Rocafella – those comments to Sue are way out of line and distasteful.
    Scott – Is there going to be action taken against Rocafella? There’s freedom of speech and all but calling a fellow commenter “whore” and “cunt” is NOT acceptable behaviour, even if such remarks (perhaps, I’m not getting that impression) made in jest.

  26. suhayl says:

    Calm down need for that.

    Anyway Almunia is hedging his bets. Which means he’s the whore….pimping any country that will give him a game. That smacks of desperation and lack of class.

    You’re a shite keeper for arsenal…shite that spain wouldnt look at you twice…and even shite enuf not to play for england…END.

    Now p off….and if you want to play international football that much…go to kazakhstan for 5 years and get citizenship there. You may just get a chance there.


  27. ManUnited18 says:

    mmm so many intersting comments here
    my opinion we have alot of youth english goal keepers
    Joe hart + Ben foster + Robert Green + Kirkland + loke Steel(Burnsly) so i preffer 2 give thim the Chance espically Green who i think he will be good 1

  28. OTRed says:

    ^^^Just what i was about to write, we have up and coming keepers that can take over from calamity James when he retires. Theres Foster, Green and even that Blackburn keeper(i’m not sure if he is English though) who looked good(at least against us). Nothing special about Almunia, they younger keepers should be given a chance.

  29. Wiggsman says:

    Actually Owen’s Mam is Welsh, hence his Welsh first name – obvioulsly he chose England as the best option for him to play international football with Canada being too shit (do they have a team?) and Wales being too good – the competition on our sick bench is just too good for Hargo….. Bellamy, Collins, Giggs (hmmmn), Gabbidon, Bale,

    He made a good choice me feels!

  30. Malino Ubah says:

    How can you compare my Hargo with a flop that started wearing gloves at the age of 30. He cant even stand Ben Foster when fit. I will advise him to start training with Ben Amos for him to be near perfect,if not,he should battle it out with Casillas and Reima.

  31. AJ says:

    England are not that desperate for keepers to have to get an old over-rated Spanish Keeper to play for England, Its just not the England way.

    England is not like france and co. Where we get as many forigners to turn English.

    English Blood.

  32. Stephen says:

    OTRed, what Jason Brown the goalkeeper who fell over after Vida tickled him! Think England can do better than him mate!

  33. phillyb says:

    I think I agree with Rio and all the other sane people in this debate. If a dog is born in a barn it doesn’t make it a horse. He doesn’t WANT to play for England. He just would, given the opportunity, assuming spain would never ask.

    Hargo is English, he just speaks a bit funny.

  34. OTRed says:

    @Stephen, of course he’s not ready right now, but he looks like he has potential, without him on Saturday, it could easily have been 6-0


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