Wenger backs Almunia for England

Spanish-born goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is the best goalkeeper for England's World Cup campaign, his Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said today.

Speaking at his weekly news briefing before Arsenal's Premier League match at Portsmouth, Wenger said that if England select their 2010 squad according to qualifying residency rules, then the Spaniard would not only qualify but would also be the best available to England manager Fabio Capello.

David James of Portsmouth is currently England's first choice goalkeeper, but Wenger backed his own man.

"Of course he is good enough - he is the best," said Wenger.

"But in the end, it is up to him if he wants to play for England if he is given the chance."

Almunia will complete his five years residency in England this summer.

Born in Pamplona, he joined Arsenal in July 2004 from Celta Vigo and, following the departure of German international Jens Lehmann at the end of last season, has established himself as the London club's number one choice.

Wenger said that in his opinion it was just a matter of following the residency qualifying rules and then picking the strongest team.

"It is down to the English (FA) to pick him and it is down to his desire to play for England," he said.

"Why should he not qualify and play for England? But Manuel Almunia is really Spanish and he also has to consider if he is going to have a chance to play in the Spanish national team or not."

Wenger's views were not backed up by Harry Redknapp, the manager of Arsenal's arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Writing in his column in The Sun newspaper, Redknapp said that only English players should play for England and that Almunia should not be eligible just because he has lived in the country for five years.

"If it came to a choice between England winning the World Cup with a Spanish goalkeeper or not winning it, I would rather not win it," he wrote.

"If we cannot produce our own footballers, our own generation of keepers to play for England, then we don't deserve to win anything in the first place."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence