Is Reina still World Class?

September 6, 2012
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One member of the Liverpool side who has come in for little criticism or examination of his position until recently is goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

The Spanish goalkeeper has been a stalwart between the Reds’ posts, and it has been frequently asserted that he is the best current goalkeeper in the Premier League. However a couple of early season errors against Arsenal and Hearts have led to calls from some quarters for Brendan Rodgers to wield the axe, and at least take Reina out of the firing line for a while.

Suggestions that Reina should be dropped seem to something of an over-reaction. Every goalkeeper that has ever lived is guilty of having thrown a few in, and no keeper is infallible. Reina is not in the same position as other Premier League goalkeepers that have recently been dropped; he’s neither raw nor possessing the obvious deficiencies of de Gea, nor is he as old in the tooth as Shay Given. Reina is thirty years-old, should be in his prime years as a goalkeeper, and has proven over several years that he has both the mentality and physicality required to thrive in the Premier League.

Players don’t lose their ability overnight. Despite being understudy to the peerless Casillas for nearly a decade, Reina has managed to rack up twenty-six caps for the reigning European and World champions, who also have Barcelona keeper Vitor Valdes and the aforementioned de Gea to call upon. If that isn’t an indication that Reina is world-class, I don’t know what is. He shouldn’t be condemned for one sticky spell, he has enough credit in the bank to be backed.

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