Almunia considering future
Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has denied telling Fabio Capello he wants to play for England.
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 12/01/08 10:56pm
Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has denied telling Fabio Capello he wants to play for England, but admitted he might be interested in switching international allegiance.
Reports in Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed Spaniard Almunia had informed England manager Capello that he is ready to take up British citizenship immediately in a bid to be eligible for selection.
However, Almunia, who will qualify for a British passport at the end of the year, believes talk of him representing England is still premature.
"There's a lot lacking for this to happen," he told AS.
"You need to have been here five years, and I've spent four here. I will think about it if it happens.
"They've said that I have publicly commented that I was going to start the process of becoming an England national, but I never said anything about that and neither have I announced anything to the Italian media.
"[The media] talk about me being called up a lot because England didn't reach the European Championships, but I haven't heard anything."
Almunia still hopes to turn out for the country of his birth but accepts that he owes a lot to England and could be tempted to switch allegiance in a bid to play at the 2010 World Cup.
"I would prefer to hear the Spanish anthem than the England one," he admitted.
Patriotism out of fashion
"But it's also true that the time of patriotism and really feeling a national anthem has somewhat gone out of fashion.
"It matters more what you owe a country or the people of that country.
"I owe everything to Spain on a personal level but professionally I can't put a price on what has happened to me in England.
"Moreover, there is little possibility of playing for Spain. So although I would love to put on the Spanish shirt, I feel the same about playing in the World Cup."
Paul Robinson and Scott Carson both made costly mistakes during England's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign but Almunia does not believe he would be an automatic choice for Capello's squad.
"The level of goalkeepers isn't bad," he said. "Perhaps there are more mistakes and it's true that they work less on their technique than in Spain.
"But the pressure for a goalkeeper here is enormous because [the media] talk a lot about any errors."