Aaron Ramsdale has opened up about the ‘difficult two years’ he has endured with the £24million signing having now arrived at Arsenal from Sheffield United.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper has joined Mikel Arteta’s side on a four-year contract with an option of a fifth and has described himself as a ‘old head’ as a result of the difficulties he has overcome on the pitch.
Ramsdale, who is highly-regarded at St. George’s Park by Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions contingent, has been relegated in each of his previous two seasons of senior football with Bournemouth and with the Blades but has impressed regardless.
The former England Under-21 captain did, however, win player of the year awards in each of those stints and has become one of the Premier League’s most prolific shot-stoppers, ranking among the top three in successive seasons.
Despite the criticism and doubts incurred over his career, Ramsdale has credited those experiences and struggles to his recent success having been exposed to so many senior appearances at such a young age.
Speaking to the Arsenal website, he said: “A difficult two years, obviously the circumstances with what happened each season but I’ve learned to grow mentally and as a person off the pitch I think I’m a quite old head for a young 23-year-old.”
Ramsdale climbed the football pyramid ahead of his breakthrough into the Premier League, playing at the likes of Chesterfield and AFC Wimbledon, and detailed his early exposure to men’s football and how the variation of playing styles has prepared him to grace the Emirates.
“A lot of people are saying that goalkeepers don’t normally play a lot of games by the time they’re 23 and obviously I have,” Ramsdale said.
The transfer window is in full swing and things are beginning to ramp up with Edu and Mikel Arteta’s dealings at the Emirates.
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“I have that on my side and I’ve learned how to play different ways, you know long ball, playing out from the back, mixing it up.
“So, there’s bows to my rack which I’m adding each time and hopefully I can continue to do that here.”
Ramsdale’s previous pair of clubs, the Cherries and the Blades, encompass a perfect balance of varying play-styles ahead of his tenure under Arteta in north London.
Bernd Leno has been accustomed to questions being asked about his ability to play out from the back following a relatively unimpressive pre-season, intensified by the side’s inability to beat Brentford’s press.
This led to cracks beginning to show among the Arsenal entourage as Pablo Mari expressed his fury towards the Germany international after Leno didn’t offer himself for a pass.