Aaron Ramsdale claims Arsenal have seven leaders as keeper sets challenge to Mikel Arteta
Didn’t deserve more than a point: Arteta on Brighton game
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From the moment he walked through the doors of the Emirates, Aaron Ramsdale sensed Arsenal was not a happy place. But after cementing a first-team place with a string of fine performances – and with an anticipated England debut up for grabs on Saturday – it is no surprise the 23-year-old goalkeeper has a smile on his face.
“You can sense the history as soon as you walk through the doors that the club isn’t happy where they are,” Ramsdale said.
“We want European football. It’s a young team so it’s step by step; it might have to be the Europa League and then the Champions League, but we want to get back there.
“You understand the pressures that brings, but it’s an enjoyable challenge, and when the highs are high they’re really high.
“Around the training ground, you see the history. The players that have played here with their unique numbers, as we have with England.
“You’ve got the Invincibles on the walls everywhere, so you understand the history of the football club. It’s now our time for us to put some new history on the wall.
“And this is possibly the best month I could have wished for.
“I believed in my ability to get into the team but I thought it would take a while transitioning to the way they play, new team-mates, getting into the team helping them out.
“But we’ve had a good month as a team, as a unit, as a club.”
Ramsdale’s self-confidence also helps fill the leadership vacuum Arsenal seem to have suffered in recent seasons.
“It is well documented that they were missing leaders,” Ramsdale admits. “I don’t think we’ve now all of a sudden all turned into leaders, I just think now this team that is playing at the moment is full of confidence, we are working together, we’re earning each other’s respect and playing better football.
“Leaders come out in different ways, Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo are young lads, but they lead by example with the performances.
“And you’ve got Granit Xhaka, myself, Gabriel, Ben White who are vocal and you’ve got the captain himself, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is our talisman, our go-to man and we’re all different leaders in our own way.”
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Ramsdale is very much the junior figure within England as the only squad member yet to be capped – although that could change on Saturday against Andorra.
It is the first time the senior England team have actually visited the mountainous region between France and Spain – previous internationals have been played in Barcelona, three hours’ drive away.
And with much concern about the Estadi Nacional’s 3G pitch, there is a chance first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford could be kept in cotton wool.
“I don’t know if Jordan has any history with shoulder injuries,” Ramsdale surmised. “I think that might be a concern. But it’s no real harder than grass.
“We’ve all played on it as kids. I played there with the U21s it’s just something you have to adapt to.”
And Ramsdale has no qualms in testing Pickford’s shoulder condition to the full by making the Everton goalkeeper look back over it as often as possible.
“I have the self belief that I believe I could hold down the position, yes,” Ramsdale said. “But I have to first and foremost get in the team.”
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