Saturday, December 4, 2021

Arteta wants Ramsdale focused amid talk of becoming England No.1 for World Cup

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Oct 2021

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Mikel Arteta emphasised the importance of focus and consistency when asked about Aaron Ramsdale’s chances of becoming first-choice England goalkeeper in time for the 2022 World Cup.

Ramsdale was the star of the show as Arsenal beat Leicester City 2-0 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, saving all eight of the hosts’ shots on target to ensure first-half goals from Gabriel Magalhaes and Emile Smith Rowe secured the three points.

The 23-year-old’s heroics saw his overall save percentage for the season improve to 85.7, which is bettered by only Edouard Mendy (89.7) among goalkeepers to have faced more than two shots.

On top of that, Ramsdale’s saves cumulatively saw him prevent 2.4 goals against Leicester, according to Stats Perform’s xGOT (expected goals on target) data – the next best record of any goalkeeper in a single Premier League game this season was Alisson preventing 1.7 against Norwich City.

It was the latest in a string of impressive performances from Ramsdale, who earlier this month backed himself to be England’s go-to option ahead of Jordan Pickford between the posts by the time next year’s World Cup rolls around.

While he was in their Euro 2020 squad, Ramsdale has not yet represented his country at senior level. Arteta thinks a prominent role in Qatar is not beyond him, but stressed the need to remain focused.

“I think when you dream big, it is always positive,” Arteta said after the defeat of Leicester.

“Keep your feet on the ground, there are people who make those decisions, but he needs to be doing what he’s doing every day.

“Train the way he trains, look after himself the way he does, have that mentality he has, and good performances. The rest will come.”

Arsenal were widely ridiculed in August when it was revealed the deal to bring Ramsdale to the Emirates Stadium could cost them as much as £30million – he had suffered back-to-back relegations from the Premier League with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, while Emi Martinez had been thriving at Aston Villa after being sold for less.

But Ramsdale quickly dislodged Bernd Leno as Arteta’s favoured goalkeeper and has impressed those at the club with his personality.

Arteta was keen to remind him that he cannot afford to start believing the hype, however.

“I think he has settled in a group that is very welcoming, has young energy and with humble senior players that accommodate you straight away,” Arteta continued.

“Then Aaron’s character, he’s full of energy, he can transmit that energy and that passion and they have great chemistry between them.

“We invest money in talent and people we believe can be great for the future of the club. We made that decision based on that and Aaron has had some really encouraging performances, and today he had some incredible saves to maintain the clean sheet and he needs to continue to do that.

“In football you have to play 50 games for 20 years, and this is only the start.”

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