It doesn’t say a lot for the standard of British goalkeepers in the English game, when the prospect of Manuel Almunia becoming a British citizen this summer makes us automatically think he should get the number one jersey.
Almunia was signed in 2004 and therefore is eligible to apply for British citizenship. Despite being born in Pamplona, Spain and having played for a handful of Spanish teams, Almunia still hasn’t been called up for the national side.
Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas and Liverpool’s Jose Manuel Reina have been in excellent form leaving no room for another world class goalkeeper.
Since his arrival at the Gunners, Almunia has slowly worked his way up to a regular first team place after pushing Jens Lehmann out of contention.
Week in, week out Almunia has pulled off magnificent saves to keep Arsene Wenger’s side in European football next season.
A display midweek against rivals Manchester United which can only be described as ‘match saving’ quality (in terms that he kept it to just one goal), will surely put the 31 year old in high regards.
Although if Almunia did become a British Citizen then there is no guarantee that he would gain a place into Fabio Capello’s squad.
David “Calamity” James is currently Capello’s first choice goalkeeper, but the 38 year old has a habit of causing a stir on high profile games, leaving him a reputation and nickname that will never go.
Blackburn’s Paul Robinson is hot on James heel’s, but again lacks the consistency to be a regular international number one.
Very indecisive on crosses and lacks the ability to maintain focus, Robinson has had many a nightmare especially when a poorly palmed clearance gifted Russian striker Roman Pavlvuchenko the winner in the 2008 Euro qualifier.
Chris Kirkland, Robert Green, Scott Carson and Ben Foster are all capable of wearing the England number one jersey, but who can perform match after match at every level of competition?
If Almunia is lucky enough to secure British Citizenship, then surely we might be able to field a consistent goalkeeper…unless Vicente Del Bosque decides his future lies with Spain.