By: The Fabster
Manuel Almunia caused many people to giggle, when he first declared that he would be willing to play for England. With people like David James, Paul Robinson and Robert Green ahead of him, it was a laughable thought. 22 games later, no one is laughing anymore.
Arsene Wenger has added his voice to the “Manuel for England” call.
Wenger said: “I could only advise you to take advantage of it and call him up for the England squad.
“Almunia came here without a CV so he had to make a name with his performances. It was not easy because he had to get experience at a big club.
He added: “He had never played for a big club before and made some mistakes, but he has gained confidence and calmness. He is a good keeper.”
“I knew he was good but how could he be Arsenal’s keeper? Only by playing.
“Everyone makes mistakes. Van der Sar makes mistakes.
“But it was more difficult for Almunia because he was already under pressure from an outstanding goalkeeper behind him.
“That was a tough test. If you play bad games, you are under pressure immediately.”
I could not agree more. I honestly love our boss. When he speaks it’s like…. I’m struggling to think of a metaphor but let’s just say it’s incredibly hard to argue with him and he ends up being right anyway. He did the complete opposite of what every wanted from him this transfer window and now look at us…
It’s been like a rags to riches story for Manuel. We probably got him for peanuts too. What a bargain by Arsene, another to add to the list. It’s honestly shocking how he does it. After all his “Fawlty” years, he is now a hero after that penalty save.
Personally, I am for Almunia joining the England team. I don’t get International football really, am not overly patriotic so I don’t see the problem with it really. If a player get nationality, they are part of the country and should therefore be eligible to play for it. If it improves the team, then why not? If C.Ronaldo was offered nationality, people would jump at the chance to have him play for England.
People say that if he is not good enough to play for Spain, he should not be good enough to play for England.
Bit unfair, considering Spain have possibly the best keeper in the world between the nets. Carlo Cucidini is not good enough to play for Italy and is not even getting games at Chelsea, yet people think he is good enough to play for England. He has Buffon and Cech ahead of him but like I said, Almunia has Casillias ahead of him.
A lot of professionals have been hailing Almunia’s consistency as being key to Arsenal’s success. He has put in some superb performances for us like against Inter Milan (pre season) and more recently Chelsea. But he has looked uneasy at times and has made cock ups against the likes of Sunderland and United. Every keeper is entitled to the occasional cock up but three at this point in the season is not really good enough for someone who wants to cement an international place. He has looked a lot better in recent weeks and was Man of The Match against Chelsea. If he can keep that up, I would support his claim for a spot in the England team. Would certainly be a better option than Paul Robinson.
England have to look at the long term too, the likes of Carson and Foster are still young. But so were the likes of Richard Wright at one point and Jens Lehmann has proved that a goalkeeper can get better with age. Can Manuel really be better than Scott Carson or Ben Foster