By Chris Harris
Jens Lehmann will bring the best out of Manuel Almunia when he returns to the Arsenal fold, according to Arsène Wenger.
The German goalkeeper has agreed to come out of retirement and rejoin his old club until the end of the season as cover for the injured trio of Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone.
Lehmann will start his second Arsenal career on the bench as understudy to Almunia, the man who unseated him as No 1 back in 2007. At the time, reports suggested that the duo shared a less than amicable rivalry but Wenger played that down at his pre-match press conference. He believes Lehmann was a good influence on Almunia and will be again.
“There has been much more said about that [relationship] than what happened,” said the manager. “There is a lot of respect between the two goalkeepers.
“I think Jens Lehmann will get the best out of Almunia, because he will show him every day he is ready to fight for his place - as he has always been.”
It’s worth noting that Lehmann left Arsenal in May 2008 just one appearance shy of 200 for the Club. He has ten opportunities to reach that milestone but, for now, the 41-year-old will have to wait.
“He will be on the bench [at West Brom] and Almunia will start the game,” confirmed Wenger. “At the moment Almunia is the No 1.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Mar 2011