Aaron Ramsdale has usurped Bernd Leno as Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper this season, with the German looking likely to leave the Emirates during the summer transfer window
Aaron Ramsdale may have been the man to displace Bernd Leno from the Arsenal team, but the two are still pushing each other on behind the scenes.
Leno had been the Gunners first-choice stopper, right up until Ramsdale’s arrival from Sheffield United in the summer. The German was named in Mikel Arteta’s first three Premier League XIs, which Arsenal suffered a trio of damagings.
That forced Arteta’s hand, with Ramsdale promoted straight into the first team, having initially expected to be an understudy to his more experienced colleague. It’s a switch which has reaped benefits for Ramsdale and Arsenal, with the England international proving himself to be one of the signings of the summer.
For Leno however, he admitted that the demotion left him feeling “bitter” resigned to sporadic appearances in the cup competitions and when Ramsdale is unavailable in the Premier League. His latest start in the league came during the win over Aston Villa last month, with Leno stepping in for his injured team-mate.
And he didn’t let anybody down, keeping a clean sheet in the Midlands and nobody looked happier for the former Bayer Leverkusen than Ramsdale himself. During the ensuing celebrations, he ran onto the Villa Park pitch to congratulate Leno in front of the away end.
“He wanted to be here to support Bernd, which tells you about a lot of things behind the scenes,” Arteta explain following the victory. And that positive atmosphere appears to have continued, with Ramsdale again left aghast at Leno’s shot-stopping ability.
During a training session in preparation for Arsenal’s visit to SouthamptonLeno, Ramsdale and third choice keeper Arthur Okonkwo were put through their paces by forwards, in a video which has now been published on the club’s YouTube channel.
While the majority of close-range strikes went in, Leno made one highlight save, diving full stretch to paw away an Emile Smith Rowe header. His coaches could be heard celebrating the stop, before Ramsdale came into focus with his head on hands in astonishment.
Despite those excellent showings in training, the 30-year-old still looks destined to leave the club at the end of the season and earlier this month, hinted he may have been a scapegoat in the desperate hunt for immediate results.
“It was a setback and a bitter moment,” the Germany international told Spox, via Goal. “But that’s sport, you have to accept that. It wasn’t easy, but I couldn’t feel sorry for myself, I wanted to attack again immediately. I don’t want to say I was a pawn, but when the results aren’t right, sometimes things happen quickly in football.
“The coach wanted to set a new impulse – and then the [improved] results came. That was bitter for me, because I had held up well before that. I had never experienced anything like that in my career before. But I looked ahead. My ambition is to always play, I know what I can do. I’m not 20 anymore, where I could say: ‘I still have time’.”