Is Manuel Almunia Wanted or Not?
While satisfying my daily addiction for football news, mainly Arsenal and EPL football but open to all other leagues and such, I stumbled upon some highlights of Almunia's career, mostly from the '08/'09 season.
Then of course, the topic of whether Almunia should be the England shotstopper sauntered into my brain.
Seeing as I am just one person, and out of my friends here in the US, only a select few are interested in football (the real type, not the American stuff), I realized that I had no idea what others thought of him, so here I am posing another open-ended article for you all to read and respond to.
Personally, I think he would do fine as England's No. 1. His past season at Arsenal has shown why Arsenal have continued to rely on him as our own No. 1. While he is no Seaman or even a Lehmann in his prime, he is still relatively youthful in goalie years and has proved this season that he is improving and will continue to do so.
His confidence has grown since becoming the undisputed starting goalie for Arsenal, and with his confidence boosted, he can continue to bolster his performances.
Though some may scoff at his 26 allowed goals in the Premier League this season, it also doesn't take into account the slipshod nature of this year's Arsenal back-line.
He's had many commanding performances this season, the first CL Semi-final against Man Utd coming to mind. His domination between the posts kept Arsenal in the two game tie, although he had some errors in the second game that resulted in Arsenal being handily beaten.
He has also shown that he can decide well when coming out and challenging the ball, and despite some minor slip-ups such as that goal Bentley scored for Tottenham and Ronaldo's free kick during the second CL Semi leg, he has been pretty solid for a first year as first choice, rounding out the Premier League season with 147 total saves.
As for his personal ambitions, I think he could handle the change. Even though Robert Green has given Almunia a dire warning about the complications of playing for England, with his English Premier League experience, I don't think that'll be too much of a problem for him.
Seeing as his own current country has a whole crew of well qualified goalkeepers to choose from, with the likes of Iker Casillas, Diego Lopez, and Pepe Reina all being top notch, world class keepers, his move to England would almost definitely facilitate a whole new level of experience, and as an Arsenal fan, the more experience for my players, the better.
Seeing Almunia in the goal may also hearten some English fans as well since not everyone is a fan of "Calamity James." Plus, extra competition would mean all three keepers would have to stay on top form to get the call-up, and competition is always a good thing. See what the lack of it has done with the Chelsea keeper, Petr Cech?
All in all, I see Almunia's move for an English passport as doing nothing but good for himself and the England side as a whole.
Anyways, I've given you my sleep-deprived thoughts on why I think Almunia can be a good choice for England, and I definitely want him to get a English passport to get a chance at playing at the international stage, but as usual with these types of thoughts, I'll leave it up to you in poll and in comments to agree or disagree with my views. Enjoy.
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