Wenger builds Almunia future
Gunners boss praises Spanish shot-stopper
Last Updated: November 12, 2010 4:35pm
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged goalkeeper Manuel Almunia to regain the No.1 jersey for the club.
The 33-year-old shot-stopper is set to return to full training next week following a spell on the sidelines with an elbow problem.
Lukasz Fabianski has performed well in the Spaniard's absence since the end of September - most notably producing a string of saves against Wolves in midweek.
But Wenger has backed Almunia to prove his worth and insists he still has a future at the Emirates Stadium.
"Of course Almunia has a future at the club," he said. "He has been out for a long time, but he must come back and show the performances in training and his quality.
"You can never stop a player from playing.
"At the moment what we are focused on is to win together with the squad we chose at the start of the season
"We are on a train which wants to go to the terminal station - and that means nobody moves out when the train is moving."
Certain quarters have suggested that Arsenal will have to sign a new goalkeeper if they are going to end their long search for a trophy.
However, Wenger appears to be sticking to his guns and this week rewarded 20-year-old Wojciech Szczesny with a new long-term deal.
The French boss believes the youngster has bags of ability, but will not assure him regular first-team football.
"I don't give assurance to anybody for game time," Wenger remarked.
"I just told Wojciech he has the quality to be an Arsenal goalkeeper, and that it is down to him to show that.
"We cannot say on one side that we are in top-level competition and also give the players guarantees. The only guarantees are their performances."
Wenger's side take on Everton this weekend and he is hoping for a repeat of the Molineux performance.
"I am convinced we have the potential and have the right spirit, we have shown that again against Wolves on Wednesday night," he said.
"We go to Everton where we will want to show a similar commitment that we have at Wolves."