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Prem Forecaster: The relegation race

Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Rio cool on England call-up for Almunia

England defender Rio Ferdinand does not believe Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia should be considered for selection for England.

The Spanish goalkeeper would be eligible through his English wife and has previously admitted his interest in representing England.

The 31-year-old has played for the Gunners since 2004 and last season became the north London's team's first choice in goal after dislodging German Jens Lehmann.

Almunia would stand little chance of making the Spain team whose number one is Iker Casillas of Real Madrid with Liverpool's Jose Reina as back-up.

England have fewer riches with 38-year-old David James the first choice for manager Fabio Capello but the back-up keepers Paul Robinson, Robert Green and Scott Carson are all prone to mistakes.

Almunia's name has been mentioned in relation to the England keeper's role but Ferdinand would not agree should the Spaniard be selected.

He told BBC Five Live: "That's for the FA to decide but I'm sure if he was picked for Spain he would play for Spain in front of England.

"So if that happens I don't think it's really working right.

"So if Spain had picked him now and he had a choice of playing for Spain or England who is he going to pick?

"I'm sure he'd pick Spain so that means he is not English."

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