‘It feels like it has been thrust upon us’ – Aaron Ramsdale questions timing of Qatar World Cup

Arsenal star on England chances Credit: Alamy
Arsenal star on England chances Credit: Alamy

England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has questioned the timing of this year’s World Cup just two days out from the opening game.

This year’s tournament is unprecedented for a number of reasons, one being its winter timing.

Initially scheduled to take place in the summer of 2023, the decision was made to move the event forward 6 months.

This move has created a unique scenario: an elongated, concertinaed season, in which players must jump from playing for their clubs , to playing in a World Cup, before switching back to their clubs again, left little time to mentally and physically prepare in between.

speaking from England’s Al Wakrah HQ, Ramsdale discussed the irregular nature of this year’s World Cup.

“[The feeling of playing in this World Cup is] hard to put into words really,” said the Arsenal player.

“Especially it being this time of year where it feels like it had been thrust upon us quickly. But once that first game kicks off on Sunday I believe it will be mega.”

The expedition of the tournament was due primarily to weather concerns.

Summer conditions in the Arabian peninsula are searing – often surpassing 40 degrees celsius.

But while winter conditions are cooler, temperatures as England trained in Doha today were still exceeding 30°C.

“The guys have a lot of ice packs and ice vests to use when we are resting which gives us an added boost,” added Ramdale, when asked how the squad were dealing with the heat.

“I knew it was going to be hot, I’ve been to Dubai on numerous occasions. But I think adapting quickly will be the difficult thing.

“For us we are normally going into Christmas with dark mornings and dark nights. How quickly we can adapt to the weather is crucial.”

Of all the players in the England squad, Ramsdale may be most concerned of the effect that the interruption to the Premier League could have on performance.

His Arsenal side currently sit top of the table, five points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

The Gunners have not won the Premier League since the 2003-2004 season, when the much-famed ‘invincibles’ won the title under Arsene Wenger without losing a match.

Having previously endured two Premier League relegations, Ramsdale is enjoying his time at the top.

“There’s times when it is a pinch yourself moment. I speak to my parents or my wife and I’m in a really good place, especially after the first few years of my career learning my trade in difficult situations.

“It is really enjoyable at the moment and that hard work, you reap your rewards. I’m here now but that does not mean anything. I have to get my head down to try and get into the team.”

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