Plenty of fans in the wider world of football raised an eyebrow or two when Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made the move for Brentford stopper David Raya, and many thought, that particularly in light of the season Aaron Ramsdale had just had, that this would prove to be problematic as game time became an issue as the months passed.
The speculation deepened as with the side now well into their November fixtures, Raya is clearly Arteta’s first choice goalkeeper, and Ramsdale has only made seven starts so far. The game time issue is now impacting on the 25 year old’s England chances, with Gareth Southgate recently stating that he would not promise a European Championship 2024 place to the stopper if he continued to remain on the bench.
Speaking to the media ahead of their clash later today with Burnley, Arteta again insisted Ramsdale just had to be patient and not make any quick decisions about his future as he continued to hold a ‘really important role’ in the side and his plans.
“We just want the best for our players and we try to do that, and we know the influence that we can have – sometimes positively, sometimes not so positively, towards them. This is a team sport that needs 24 players that have to fulfil a role. And the role that you have in August, it might be very different to the one you have in March. So making early decisions, in my experience, is not something good at all and as well because the team has certain needs that has to be accomplished. You need everyone and Aaron has a really important role in the team.”
Ramsdale has kept his place in Southgate’s squad for England’s upcoming final two qualifiers later this month against Malta and North Macedonia, and it is expected that he will continue to add to the four senior international caps he has gained so far, but when announcing his squad the other day, the gaffer had revealed that talks had already been held about his current lack of game time, as it was now an issue when he looks towards what 2024 will bring.
“He’s still battling to be the number one at Arsenal, and his profile and the way he can use the ball with his feet, we like. But there is a reality as a keeper. If we get to March and he’s six months without playing regularly, then I’m never going to promise things that I couldn’t guarantee delivering.”
It could shape up to be an interesting January, but there will be those who feel that Arteta has made a rod for his own back here.