Capello puts an end to Almunia's England dream

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia s hopes of an England call-up have been dashed by Fabio Capello. The Pamplona-born stopper is now eligible for British citizenship after five years in the UK and under FIFA residency rules this would mean he can play for

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia's hopes of an England call-up have been dashed by Fabio Capello.

The Pamplona-born stopper is now eligible for British citizenship after five years in the UK and under FIFA residency rules this would mean he can play for Capello's side.

But the England manager, ironically an Italian who had never lived in this country until 2008, dismissed the idea.

"Almunia, for me, is Spanish - he is Spanish and he plays for the Arsenal team," was Capello's curt answer when asked if he would consider a call-up for the 32-year-old prior to last night's international friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.


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Almunia had earlier admitted he would like the opportunity to play for England, and pointed at his own country for bending the rules.

"The England players are very important. I would like to know what they think and if I will be welcome ... this is not a silly thing, I don't want to disturb anybody," he said.

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"In Spain it is different because we have had Brazilian players. Look at (Marcos) Senna - he is now Spanish. Donato was a Brazilian playing for Spain. My family think I should do it.

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