Wenger - Almunia for England
Arsene Wenger has backed Manuel Almunia as the best of England's goalkeeping candidates.
By Rob Carragher
Last Updated: 01/05/09 4:17pm
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Manuel Almunia as the best possible solution to England's goalkeeping problems.
Having never represented the Spanish national team, Almunia has long been mooted as a possible candidate to be England's number one, should he take up British citizenship through his English wife.
These claims have been variously rejected by those involved with the England national team set-up, but following Almunia's outstanding display against Manchester United in midweek, the inevitable question has been raised once again.
However, this time Almunia's case has been given the unreserved backing of his club coach Wenger, who sees the former Osasuna stopper as more than worthy of a place in the England team.
"I believe he is not only good enough, but he is the best," stated Wenger.
"There are international rules which have to be respected, but if it is possible legally, why not?
"Then it is more a choice left to the English Football Association or to Manuel Almunia's desire."
Wenger may well be in favour, but he admits that he is unsure whether either party would actually be willing to agree to Almunia's inclusion.
"It is down to what you expect morally and mentally from a national team," he added.
"On the English side, for the national team, it is not so much a problem because if the guy decides to become English, he has had to observe and respect the rules like anybody else.
"Why should he then not be qualified to play for the national team?
"It is more a moral problem maybe for Manuel Almunia, because does he consider he has a chance to play in the Spanish national team or not?"