German national coach Jurgen Klinsmann vowed to stand by Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann despite the keeper’s relegation to the Highbury substitutes’ bench.

Lehmann was dropped recently in favour of Spaniard Manuel Almunia but Klinsmann has retained his faith in the 35-year-old stopper.

“Jens will carry on getting games even if he is left out in the cold by Arsenal,” explained Klinsmann to magazine Kicker.

“He has not become a bad goalkeeper overnight and we just have to be patient.

“I phoned Arsene (Wenger) and left a message on his answer machine.”

However, Klinsmann warned the keeper that he must be first choice for next season to have any chance of becoming Germany’s keeper at the 2006 World Cup finals.

“Jens has my support but I have informed him that he needs to be playing in the first eleven next season,” added Klinsmann.

“If that is not the case he needs to ask himself some questions.”