Mikel Arteta ‘regrets’ past decisions as he sends Aaron Ramsdale message over David Raya’s Arsenal debut

Mikel Arteta ‘regrets’ past decisions as he sends Aaron Ramsdale message over David Raya’s Arsenal debut

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has defended his decision to drop Aaron Ramsdale for David Raya and has predicted that managers will one day be substituting goalkeepers in the middle of games.

England international Ramsdale has been Arsenal’s No1 after joining them last year from Sheffield United as part of a deal that could eventually be worth £30million.

He was dropped to the bench for Sunday’s 1-0 win at Everton, though, as Arteta elected to hand Raya his debut after he joined from Brentford on loan in the summer.

Arteta defended the call, insisting he treats the goalkeeper position like an outfield one and that it can be rotated.

The Spaniard went on to reveal he has twice regretted not substituting goalkeepers in the middle of games - and managers may start doing so in the future.

“I haven’t had a single question on why Gabriel Jesus hasn’t started,” said Arteta. “He’s won more trophies than anyone, including me, in that dressing room, but they don’t.

“It’s something that has been historically done like this, but I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities like Aaron has, like Karl [Hein] has, but we have to use them you know.

“It’s like this. I’m a really young manager. I’ve been in this job three and a half years and I have few regrets with what I’ve done.

“One of them was that in two occasions, I felt after 60 minutes and 85 minutes, in two games, in this period, to change the keeper in that moment. But I didn’t do it. I didn’t have the courage to do it.

“But I’m able to take a winger, or a striker off, or put a central defender on to drop to a back-five and hold that result. We drew those games and I was so unhappy.

“Someone is going to do it, and maybe it will be *gasps*. That’s strange? Why? Why not? We have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something when something is happening and you want to change momentum. Do it.

“It’s a regret that I have. Now my feeling is to get everybody engaged in the team. They have to play, regardless of the competition. We have to do it. This is my message.

“No one is guaranteed a spot. I don’t have a guaranteed spot. We’re here to perform at the highest level and to contribute at our best capacity to win games.

“It’s no different for anybody. If we set ourselves those standards whatever happens externally it’s never going to be bigger than that. That’s the aim that we have.”

Asked how he thinks Ramsdale will react to being dropped, Arteta said: “The same as Gabriel Jesus, the same as Kai Havertz, the same as [Takehiro] Tomiyasu. Exactly the same.

“We play with 11 players. We don’t play with 10 plus one, or sometimes nine. We play with 11 players. Exactly the same.”