Life as a Gunner couldn’t have started much better for Aaron Ramsdale.
The £25m that Arsenal splashed out on him raised a few eyebrows initially but the 23-year-old has more than justified that thus far. Many were at a club of Arsenal’s size paying such a fee for a player relegated twice already in his young career, however Arsenal’s new look scouting set up saw something in him.
Despite having been around the club for only a few weeks, Ramsdale’s personality has shone through resulting in him making a great impression on players and fans alike. Bernd Leno, who Ramsdale has replaced in the team, was often criticised for a lack of communication with his defenders.
Since Ramsdale has come into the side, the defence has appeared far more organised and his record of three clean sheets in four matches suggests as much. He told Josh Danzel: “That’s my personality, I like to be a leader both on and off the pitch. I know I’ve got a loud voice so I try to use that for good”.
His reputation was further enhanced when putting in a magnificent performance in the north London derby early this month.
“That was a special day”, Ramsdale remarks with the smile. “It was my first derby and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. On his own performance, the England international rather modestly ventures: “It was nice to do my job really, its as simple as that, helped out as best I could”.
He certainly did help the team out. A late Lucas Mora effort looked destined for the top corner before Ramsdale produced a save out of seemingly nowhere. Had that shot gone in, it may have been a nervy end to the game for Arsenal. That 3-1 victory saw Ramsdale concede the only goal of his Arsenal career so far, with clean sheets against Burnley, Norwich and Brighton making up his first four league game in the red and white.
Life with England has started well for Ramsdale. Although he is playing the roll of understudy to Jordan Pickford at the moment, he has aspirations to eventually overtake the man four years his senior as England’s number 1.
One of the biggest influences Ramsdale credits to his success is his England manager Gareth Southgate about whom he is unequivocal in his praise.
He said: “He’s a top man and what he’s doing with this group of players is special.”
Ramsdale goes on to hale Southgate as being the best man manager he has ever come across, a sentiment echoed by many of his team mates.
When asked about the summer just gone, Ramsdale describes as “The best holidays of my life”. This is a statement along very similar lines to what many of his England team mates who were part of the Euros squad have said. This is further testament to the idea that Southgate has created a fantastic atmosphere for his team to thrive in.
Although the disappointment of the Euros is still fresh in Ramsdale’s mind, his focus now is on Qatar and aiming to go one step further in 2022.
He adds: “We were a few kicks away from winning the tournament and that’s our next goal”.
Whether he usurps Pickford as England number 1 or not, Ramsdale vows to give his all to help his national team finally cross the line in a major tournament. No doubt, Ramsdale’s outgoing personality and tenacious attitude will be a huge asset to Southgate and his team.