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Wenger Tips Almunia For Spain

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

"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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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Date:Thursday November 29 2007
Time: 4:08PM


Even with everything going on, several games in december, Wenger still finds time to make some jokes.I guess nothing can keep him busy.
29/11/2007 16:17:00
Stop gap is a bit harsh on Almunia. The jury is still out in him, as far as I'm concerned, and he has not performed badly overall.
29/11/2007 16:21:00
He's not better than Victor Valdes, not better than Casillas, not better than Reina. He could maybe fight with Canizares for being the backup to the third goalkeeper.
29/11/2007 16:27:00
He's not performed badlt prits, just not top class. World class keepers can pull off amazing saves, but so far, every great shot has gotten past Almunia. As I said, decent keeper, but just not good enough. If we want to be the best in the world, we need a better goalie.
29/11/2007 16:28:00
29/11/2007 16:40:00
Maybe I'm being a tad over optimistic, but we may not have seen the best of Almunia yet. This is the 1st time he is getting a decent run in the 1st team. I agree he has not shown anything to classify him as world class, lets just wait before we pronounce final judgment on his qualities.
29/11/2007 17:17:00
Arsene has only done what all coaches should do and that is to issue statements boosting their players confidence, doubt Wenger truly believes this but with countless knockings from fans and Herr Grumpypants I'd imagine Manuel needs to be told he's potentially good enough for his country, if only to lift his spirits and give him targets to strive for.
29/11/2007 18:58:00
well none of the spanish goalkeppers are playing that well at the moment and like prits said lets just wait, i thought he was a muppit when he joined but he is has shown something different this season.
29/11/2007 19:01:00
i agree with prits, lets give him one full season before making any judgements over him. and if i can remember correctly, he has won us one or two penalty shootout's in his time at the club. so lets wait till the season and ends and then look at his contribution..
29/11/2007 19:56:00
At the moment Victor Valdes just isn't better than Almunia...
30/11/2007 00:18:00
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