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Nov, 9, 2011

Reina: Prem has improved Spain stars

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina says in-form David Silva is the latest example of a Spanish player benefitting from playing in the Premier League, and reckons compatriot Juan Mata will follow suit.

Reina, 29, has established himself as one of Europe's best goalkeepers since arriving at Anfield in 2005 and the former Villarreal No. 1 is certainly not alone in enhancing his reputation while playing in England.

The likes of Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres also blossomed at Anfield before moving on to pastures new, while Silva has emerged as City's stand-out performer over the past 12 months and Mata has impressed since moving to Chelsea this summer.

With Spanish players lighting up the Premier League, Reina is convinced that the national team can reap the rewards of his countrymen's experience of life in English football.

"Playing in England has certainly helped David - it has made him a regular starter for Spain," Reina said. "He's up there with the best in the Premier League.

"He's improved since he came to England, just like Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres did when they joined us and just like (Juan) Mata will do at Chelsea. Playing in a different league helps you become a better player."

Reina looks likely to make a rare international appearance on Saturday having been tipped to start between the posts ahead of Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes for Spain's friendly against England at Wembley.

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