Aaron Ramsdale’s father has hit out at how Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has treated his son this season.
The Gunners went into the 2023/24 campaign with Ramsdale as their starting goalkeeper. They then signed David Raya – a transfer target from previous years – on an initial loan from Brentford, and after waiting until after the September international break to make his debut, the Spaniard has started every Premier League and Champions League game since.
Despite impressing in his four years with the Bees, Raya has made a number of errors during his short time at Arsenal so far. Arteta initially claimed his two goalkeepers were competing for a starting spot and he did not have a set number one, but this does not appear to be the case.
Ramsdale, who signed a new long-term contract in May, has only played twice since September – in Carabao Cup ties against Brentford and West Ham United. He has been warned by England boss Gareth Southgate that his place in the Three Lions setup is at risk if he isn’t playing regularly.
Speaking on the Highbury Squad podcast, Ramsdale’s father Nick was critical of how Arsenal have dealt with their goalkeeper situation.
“We did not have a clue [Ramsdale was going to be dropped]. I didn’t have a clue, our family didn’t have a clue, Aaron didn’t have a clue that he was not going to carry on playing. All of a sudden, he’s not been played,” he said.
“You just have to look at it personally and I’m probably saying too much but: Aaron is going to be the cup goalkeeper, and David Raya is going to be the main man unless something happens, an injury or a sending-off. And Aaron’s got to live with that and he is living with that even though he’s not been told it. By anybody.
“Squads evolve all the time, nobody is going to be there forever. David Raya has not pulled up trees so far, let’s say he’s not going to. Even though the way it’s been done, in my eyes, it’s been wrong.
“Aaron lost that smile. And it’s difficult to see him there. We all keep saying: ‘you need to keep smiling’. And at the moment in time, we haven’t got that smile in him.
“David Raya is a great goalkeeper and it’s not his fault. He’s just come in as a goalkeeper. It’s just like when Aaron came in and Bernd Leno was there [in 2021].
“Aaron says Raya is a lovely guy and he works hard with him. Aaron is trying to help in as much as he can to settle in with the squad. It’s possibly the way it’s been done, not knowing the reason why.
“My only problem is when I spoke to Mr Arteta on the phone before he signed Aaron, he said he wanted Aaron. But now David Raya is back on the market and he had David Raya.
“I don’t know [what this means for Ramsdale’s future]. Aaron has just signed a new deal with three or four years with an option for 12 months.
“This is honestly truthful, I’m not spinning the yarn. This is purely me: why would you extend a goalkeeper or any player’s contract and then two or three months later [sign someone else]?”
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