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Arteta Call Up?


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MIKEL ARTETA has Pepe Reina in his sights again — and this time the Kop keeper could find himself with his biggest headache yet.


Arteta and his Everton team-mates travel to Anfield for tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth-round showdown just six days after their Premier League deadlock.


It will be a case of Friends Reunited for the Spanish midfielder, who is close pals with half the Liverpool team. So when Arteta says he plans to take a potshot, Reina knows what that can mean.


Arteta used to do the same when they were room-mates in the academy dormitories of Barcelona’s youth team a decade ago.


He revealed: “I’ve been friends with Pepe since we were 14 and it was traumatic sharing a room with him at Barca. He snored worse than anyone can imagine and it’s true I used to chuck shoes and boots at his head to shut him up.


"But when I woke him up he used to return fire and I took a few hits too!”


As well as Reina, Arteta grew up playing street football with his San Sebastian neighbour Xabi Alonso and also featured alongside Reds winger Albert Riera at the Nou Camp.


The four Spaniards, plus Liverpool hitman Fernando Torres, now spend hours in each others’ luxury Merseyside apartments.


Yet there was a time when they were more likely to be shedding tears as homesick young hopefuls missing their families. Arteta said: “I’ve played and been friendly with Fernando and Albert since the age of 16. Back then we were kids who missed home and family, and we all shed a tear or two and propped each other up.


“Now we often gather at Reina’s house to watch Spanish football, surf the internet or learn to cook Japanese food.”


Arteta, 26, will no longer have to feel jealous of his pals as he is due to become a Spain international too. He makes his début next month against England.


But he is unlikely to share a pitch with Reina tomorrow even though the last time the keeper played an FA Cup match his shootout heroics helped Liverpool to glory in 2006. Reserve Diego Cavalieri is set to step up.


While Liverpool have become a harbour for football’s Spanish armada, Everton have very much an England flavour. Last week they were the only Premier League club to field an all- English back four.


It is something full-back Tony Hibbert reckons has helped build an unbeaten run of seven games including six clean sheets.




He said: “We understand each other and going into games we feel very confident. It’s just fallen into place.”


If Everton do go all the way to Wembley, no one will be more determined to savour the day than Hibbert. The defender and Leon Osman, are the only Blues on the books from when they last won the 1995 FA Cup.


But Hibbert, then 15, has a painful memory. He said: “We had been over to Ireland for the Milk Cup youth tournament and had won that.


“When we got back all the talk was about how they were laying on a coach for my age group to go down to Wembley.


“But I was on a family holiday in Spain and had to miss out on it even though I was asked.”


Is the journalist just making things up? I didn't know he had been called up.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Squad announced and he's not in it.


Midfielders named...


Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Albert Riera (Liverpool), Sergi Busquets (Barcelona), Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal), Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia).



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Arteta, who is expected to feature for Spain against England next month, was the provider for Tim Cahill's late equaliser in that game but maintains the attention will not affect Everton's charge for UEFA Champions League qualification.


The article on the Sky Sports website only said that Arteta was expected to play for Spain. Because he would be expected, he's been on top form and deserves a place alongside some that have been mentioned. Judging by the way that Xabi Alonso played against Everton he would be out and Arteta in but that dosen't seem to be how it works for the Spanish National Team. No justice with this team, Mikel should be featuring.

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Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Albert Riera (Liverpool), Sergi Busquets (Barcelona), Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal), Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia)


^Out of the people that got picked for the Spain Nationals how many would you rather see at Everton than Mikel? The answer is not many. Xavi has a good record along with Iniesta being fantastic players at Barcelona but Arteta is the rock in our team and could well be the rock in theirs. It's a real shame that he's not been picked for Spain and I'm gutted for him.


This will be the reason he quits Goodison.

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