15 Mar 2013

The Man Utd factor: More heartbreak for Pepe Reina on the way...?

Despite being one of Europe's top goalkeepers, Liverpool stopper Pepe Reina has endured years of disappointment at international level. For Spain, Reina is a perennial bench-warmer, and he's had to watch his country's incredible succes from the sidelines, which must be massively frustrating. Yesterday, Vicente Del Bosque has once again named Reina in Spain's national squad, and with Iker Casillas missing, the opportunity would seem to be there for Reina to finally stake a claim to make the number one jersey his own. Alas, it seems that, once again, circumstances may conspire to disappoint the Spaniard.

Casillas may be out, but Reina could still be in line for even more international heartbreak. Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has also been called into the squad, and there's a real possibility he could start ahead of Reina in the two upcoming friendlies.

Given his seniority and commitment to the cause, this would be a massive kick in the teeth for Reina, but in all honesty, why call up De Gea to leave him on the bench? Del Bosque has seen Reina in a Spain shirt many times, and he'll surely want to run the rule over the United 'keeper.

The chances of Reina starting appear to be slim. His recent record for Spain doesn't make for encouraging reading:

* Only 4 starts in the last 26 internationals.
* All 4 starts came in meaningless friendlies
* Unused sub in 18 of the last 26 internationals.

Why has Reina struggled to become Spain's number one? Is there really a bias in favour of Real Madrid/Barcelona goalkeepers? Is he really a level below Casillas? Is he simply not trusted by Del Bosque?

One glaring reason seems to stand out: Reina does not play for the most successful team in his league. Casillas, and De Gea play for the the most successful teams in their respective leagues, and that can't be a coincidence. If Liverpool were league champions on a regular basis, I'm sure Reina's chances of being Spain's number one would be far greater.

Reina has made just one appearance for in the last 21 international tournament games, a run that saw Spain win two European Championships, and the World Cup. Watching that success from the bench must have some kind of psychological impact on him, and I wonder if that bleeds into his performances for Liverpool?

Ultimately, with Casillas out of the squad, it would surely be a personal embarrassment for Reina to find himself dumped on the bench again for Spain's two upcoming friendlies, especially if he's scrapped in favour of the comparatively inexperienced De Gea?

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. one glaring reason could be to much errors x_X i like the guy but let's be fair only till recent he's been back in form(knock on wood) if he continues his form (again knock on wood) and is kept out then we could say that it is unfair but as it stands and i say this reluctantly de gea deserves the call in front of reina

  2. Hes not been good at all this season, in his book he says he doesnt mind his squad status as he feels he is part of a bigger picture and helps keep Casillas on his toes, encourages players and is also good for morale. He is really part of the team in the tournaments despite not starting. He needs to concentrate on his club form as he is clearly better then De Gea but this season he hasnt been.

  3. Any person who's been following PL this whole season would choose DDG over Pepe.. Harsh reality but even he can't help it.

    And if he does not get a chance in these two friendlies, i believe he'd like to take Valdes' place in Barca in this summer transfer window..

  4. pepe has been a great servant to spain never moans about lack of oppotunaty and seems a very popular member of the squad deserves his chance for country

  5. Could simply be that De Gea is seen as the future at GK for Spain.

    Would need to start at some point.

    Would be nice if Pepe would receive the recognition, but unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to be in the cards for him.

  6. De Gea has been better than Reina but funny how the British media barely criticise Reina, whereas De Gea gets the usual young-raw-foreigner-hasn't-got-the-cojones-for-those-rough-cold-rainy-nights-at-Stoke treatment

  7. The big reason that Reina hasn't become no.1 is that Casillas is immovable. I don't think it is any reflection on Reina. From Spain's point of view, why not pick Casillas?
    He is the country's most consistent goalkeeper.
    He has played Champions League and international football since he was a teenager.
    He was won La Liga, the European Cup, World Cup and Euros. (This of course is a consideration only after he won the stuff, so doesn't enter the argument as to why Reina wasn't playing in, say, 2007)
    Throughout his Spain career, the back 4 (and indeed the whole team) has had many of his team mates (therefore a pre-established rapport and shorthand).
    He is a leader, unafraid to take responsibility. Also, the flip side, it is difficult to have 'big' players in the squad not playing (see Aragones dropping Raul, McClaren's decision to drop Beckham from the squad and Hodgson's reluctance to pick Ferdinand)
    I don't think that Casillas has ever been the best goalkeeper in the world, and when Reina was in his prime (2009 particularly), I think Pepe was the better 'keeper. I think Casillas is a great shot stopper, but I'm not as sure as an all-round 'keeper.

  8. It is because De Gea is under much more scrutiny. He is playing for the best side in the country, whereas Reina is, and has been for 4 years now, shooting for 6th.
    Also, Reina has been calamitous but he deals with the physical stuff reasonably well ('He's a big unit' - all co-commentators) and exceptionally well by De Gea's standards.

  9. Oh I agree, De Gea is in a bigger spotlight. But still would have , expected Reina to have gotten a lot more media criticism than he (Reina) has received. The correlation between the two's criticism is somewhat justified by the sides they play for, but not totally justified, imo.

    Hart gets away with murder and he is playing for a title challenging side but ah of course, he is British!

    I didn't think Reina was all that good at the physical stuff in the beginning of his time here but he made big progress with it over time.

  10. agree about the edit part lol;-) me pots ate all rite

  11. Are your pots eating whatever you put in them, or do have to get pot specific food?

  12. specific food i,am on a no spelling no grammer diet

  13. I have never made a spelling error, nor a grammatical one, so I'll be lobbying Kanwar to ban you.
    I'm sorry it has came to this.

  14. From what I have seen of De Gea, he is average at best. Definitely not worth the 20m that they paid for him.

  15. He can be a fabulous shot stopper, but he is unconventional. He is excellent with his feet when making saves (and a decent footballer too), but seems uncomfortable with his hands, by comparison. Obviously this is quite an issue for a GK.
    Also, he is just plain bad at the finer arts of Premier League goalkeeping (command of area etc.).

  16. Not now he isn't but further down the line he may well be. So far too early to start singing and dancing about how he hasn't fulfilled the fee yet as he is a prospect still. Certainly has the potential to fulfill the fee in the long run. He is a prospect but a expensive prospect in the short term. I doubt anyone expected him to be a finished product at that age for a keeper, despite the fee. Man United have a habit of gambling big on young players and hoping they pay off in the long run. Considering their success as a team in the last two decades, they can afford such risks. He is a prospect, not a finished product, so the fee isn't important in the short term. Would be naive to think they were expecting a £20m player from the off. Crosses aside, he has been very good this season and good as anyone in the league. His negative reputation in England is unsurprisingly blown out of proportion by the media, whereas someone like Hart gets almost a free ride even though Hart has made far more errors but that is par for the course and will have to ride it out.

  17. Mr. Point of View9:42 am, March 16, 2013

    i really feel for him....if he born in eng im sure he will be 1st choice....i really hope we dun lose him next season...(cant put all the blame on him for this season...be reasonable mate)