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Saturday, 5 August, 2000, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Seaman still first choice
David Seaman
Seaman is still Arsenal's first choice goalkeeper
Arsene Wenger has indicated that he will stand by David Seaman and install the veteran shot stopper as his first choice goalkeeper in what could be his last season at Highbury.

Seaman, who will be 37 next month, was inconsistent last term and carried on that form against Barcelona on Thursday night.

The veteran England 'keeper failed to deal with a cross after coming off his line and Philip Cocu scored Barcelona's winner.

But later in the match Seaman produced a string of outstanding saves that prevented the Spanish side winning by more than the 2-1 margin.

Arsenal boss Wenger revealed he has been encouraging Seaman to be more commanding in the penalty area.

"In training and pre-season games I've encouraged David to go for every cross and it looks like he's decided to do that.

He certainly came out and went for the corner against Barcelona.

Alex Manninger
Manninger wants first team football

"He didn't make it but it is difficult to say it was his fault and I'm quite happy he's trying it in pre-season matches when the results do not matter that much," said Wenger.

Physical demands

Seaman is coming up to his 11th season at Highbury and physical demands of Premiership football seem to be taking their toll.

The Yorkshireman missed the first 13 games last year and suffered calf, neck and shoulder complaints which kept him out of the side and gave Austrain Alex Manninger the chance to stake his claim for a first team place.

It has been suggested that Seaman is no longer prepared to risk himself physically with the kind of fearless goalkeeping displayed by Manninger and Wenger has challenged him to prove he can still cope at the highest level.

Seaman is likely to be selected to play in the first game of the season at Sunderland, meaning more frustration for Manninger who was dropped form the Austrian national side by manager Otto Baric last season on the basis of lacking first-team club experience.

But the ageing Seaman will need to produce his best form if he is to resist the challenge form Manninger and retain his place in the first eleven.

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