By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger thinks the nation's media should have no problem with Manuel Almunia's "legal right" to represent England.

The Spanish goalkeeper, who has never represented his homeland, could be eligible for England if he applies for a British passport in June. While many other nations have used ‘naturalised' players in their squads, it is a route that England have very rarely taken.

But speaking at Friday's pre-match press conference, Wenger explained why he thought Almunia could be accepted as an England player by the fans and media alike.

"I consider him a Spanish player," Wenger said. "I believe that [getting an English passport] is the right legally, whether you accept him or not, that is your problem not mine.

"But life is always a question of time. How far do you go back to accept the rights of people? What is the right of the soil or right of the blood? I don't know.

"For me it is the right of the soil - if you spend enough time somewhere you have the potential to become English.

"If you spend five years in France you can get in the French cricket team, for example, because we have nobody who plays cricket, you can make an international career in cricket."

Wenger has been in England over twice as long as Almunia and he admitted that he would not rule out applying for a British passport himself.

"Why wouldn't I consider an English passport?" said the manager. "I've spent 12 years here, it's been a big part of my professional life, my daughter is educated here so I've not got a problem with that.

"But I'm not a nationalist. I'm more of a human rights person than a flag bearer."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
1 May 2009