Aaron Ramsdale makes Arsenal admission as he admits fear for England dream

Aaron Ramsdale has admitted that he needs to get back the Arsenal No1 spot to keep his England chances alive — and says the intense focus on his situation this season has been difficult to manage.

The goalkeeper’s only appearance since early September came in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup tie at Brentford, with summer signing David Raya playing the past six games in the Premier League and Champions League.

Ramsdale was part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Australia friendly and Tuesday’s qualifying win over Italy, which booked their place at next summer’s European Championship, but did not feature in either game. Sam Johnstone started the win over the Socceroos when No1 Jordan Pickford was rested.

Asked if his lack of minutes at Arsenal was a concern, Ramsdale said: “Yeah, of course. It is the first time I have found myself in this situation. The [England] manager is brilliant, he trusts the players he’s worked with before.

"Kalvin [Phillips] and Harry [Maguire] haven’t played the most amount of minutes, but when they step up for England and are given the opportunity, they perform.

“So, if that’s the case for myself, and I do get shown that trust to play another game if I haven’t played for my club, then I will have to repay him.

"But, of course, I want to get back into my club team and be able to give [Southgate] a headache, rather than just have Jordan as the No1 and me fall by the wayside.”

Next month’s dead-rubber Euro qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia offer Southgate a chance to experiment, but Ramsdale says his main focus is playing in Arsenal’s visit to Chelsea on Saturday.

Ramsdale added: “They are two [England] games which I could target, but first and foremost I’ve got to give [Southgate] a decision and be available to be picked, and that is by getting back into my club team. If that’s not the case, then we’ll see in three or four weeks’ time.”

Ramsdale was a key part of Arsenal’s title challenge and return to the Champions League last season, and there has been intense focus on Arteta’s decision to seemingly upgrade on the 25-year-old with loan signing Raya.

Cameras have been trained on Ramsdale on the bench, and Sky pundit Jamie Carragher mocked him for ostentatiously applauding Raya during last month’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham, prompting Ramsdale’s father to label the former Liverpool defender “a disgrace” on social media.

David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale have a
David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale have a "healthy" competition (REUTERS)

Asked about the attention, Ramsdale said: “It has been difficult. There are times where you’re doing the right thing, but it’s the wrong thing, and if you don’t do it, it’s [also] the wrong thing! It’s a double-edged sword.

“There’s a lot of attention, a lot of talk, and it’s a position where if you’re not spoken about it means you’ve done a good job! Whether it is me or David who plays, we need to be able to just focus and play, but at the same time it’s a big headline. It’s one we’re working through as a club and one the manager puts in front of us, and we have to deal with it. That is what we are doing.

“This isn’t the first time my name has been in the press and it has been more negative stuff, so I have drowned it out before. It doesn’t help that my dad [wades in], but he was on a golf trip with 19 other lads from the local pub! To be honest, I wasn’t too mad at him, he didn’t say anything out of turn, it just wasn’t helpful for the situation, he knew that. He obviously just had a few too many on the golf course!

“I chose three years ago [to] turn my social media off, so a lot of things slip through the [net] for me. I know there’s a lot of noise, but it doesn’t affect me.”

Raya said this week that his relationship with Ramsdale is “very healthy”, comments echoed by the latter.

“He picks me up and there might be a day where he’s down and, even though I’m hurting for not playing, I have to stand up and be able to push him and make sure he’s ready for the weekend,” Ramsdale said.