Wenger Tips Almunia For Spain
Arsene Wenger believes Manuel Almunia is not far from a call up to the Spanish squad, following a good run in the Arsenal team.
Almunia took over from Lehmann between the sticks at the beginning of the season after the German committed two horrendous gaffs, and up until the 3-1 defeat to Sevilla on Tuesday night, the Spaniard was yet to be on the losing side so far this season.
Upon first glance, you'd think that Almunia had no chance of getting into the Spanish squad, but 3 goalkeepers are needed for the Euro 2008 tournament, and with Real Madrid's Casillias and Liverpool's Pepe Renia filling the first two spots, a decent season from Manuel could certainly see him promoted to the squad.
"I know that. There [are] always noises coming out of the camp so I know that this is thought about." Le Boss was quoted as saying to Arsenal.com
"It is a little bit like the Gregory Coupet story in France where he came late to Lyon and then the national team," said Wenger. "But overall goalkeepers careers can start late. Sometimes it is down to getting the right chance and the right moment. I feel as well he was here in an environment with top-class keepers around him in the team like Lehmann who test you and push you. Certainly Gerry Peyton has helped him as goalkeeper coach as well.'
"The conjunction of all these qualities has made him a better goalkeeper. But first of all, he has a fantastic attitude and wants always to improve."
If I am being honest, I could never see Almunia occupying the #1 spot for Spain, in fact I see him as nothing more than a stop gap for the Gunners. He IS a decent keeper, just not a world class one.
Whilst Jens Lehmann was probably out of line with the criticism levelled at Almunia, he was probably right when he said Manuel would never win us games.