Almunia's huge moment when he stopped Robbie Keane's penalty probably sealed his first place position permanently. Jens Lehmann has seen the light and reportedly on his way to Wolfsburg. With younger players like Timo Hildebrandt and Manuel Neuer pushing their claims for a spot on the German national team, its important for Lehmann to begin making regular appearances.
However, what do you make of the Almunia's desire to play for England? Can we deconstruct this in terms of what is happening in England today? The PFA and many English managers fault the influx of foreign players for the decline in national team fortunes. Fabio Capello's hire has English managers champing at the teeth with some loud nationalistic chest beating going on. The manager establishment is feeling a bit beleaguered now.
Now, a foreign goalie is volunteering his services for the national squad. I know most English goalies can't stop goals for toffee (in those matches that matter) but dear Lord, did the foreign players not get the memo? This does not auger well for homegrown talent which is what this fracas is all about. Powerful national squads with a surfeit of talent at their disposal can potentially shut out players from national representation but open up opportunities for players elsewhere when they fulfill their residency requirements. The Premiership is particularly rich in these sort of opportunities. A foreign manager under pressure to produce results might pay less attention to the nationality and focus more on a players performance to bolster a struggling national team.
Yet another wrinkle to consider in the ongoing debate in what is best for English soccer nowadays.