Aaron Ramsdale opens up on ‘negativity’ surrounding Arsenal move: ‘It was difficult at the very beginning’

Such is cult hero status. Aaron Ramsdell was quickly imbued with weapon That may be difficult to appreciate the sheer scale of the tidal wave of negativity that greeted his arrival in north London during the summer when he arrived ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Already part of the England set-up, with two years of Premier League experience, his CV was deemed insufficient by pundits who pointed to back-to-back relegations with him. Bournemouth And Sheffield UnitedIgnoring the fact that he was voted player of the season by both clubs’ supporters.

The debate over his worth paled in comparison to the abusive messages sent to him on social media, where so-called supporters vowed to turn his time at one of England’s biggest clubs into a waking nightmare. was It didn’t take long for Ramsdale to further fool these trolls. Will overhaul at age 24. Bernd Leno Within a few games became Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper and continued to make a number of key saves as the Gunners climbed the table.

His commitment and passion earned him praise from the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal’s traveling squad but there was nothing he couldn’t attend. Comments on his Instagram are locked to people he doesn’t follow, his Twitter effectively works in broadcast mode with notifications only coming from those he follows. It probably serves as a useful reminder to those whose first reaction to poor performance is to offer up dogged abuse on social media. Ramsdale won’t see it, and, if it doesn’t come from Mikel Arteta or his coaching staff, he isn’t particularly interested in the criticism that comes his way.

“It was tough at the very beginning,” says Ramsdell, reflecting on what footballers will commonly describe as one of the most motivating moments of their careers. “I got a lot of negativity about signing, idiots online saying don’t sign. Not necessarily death threats but threats like ‘we know where you live’ and things like that. She was trying to scare me

“It was safer for me but also for my family. My mom and dad are obviously on social media. They don’t really know what they’re doing, but it’s easy enough for them to type in Ramsdale on Twitter. My page and ends up on a page where there’s a lot of negativity and abuse. Then they get upset when they read it. So it made me feel a lot safer.

“As much as I love the fans, they don’t really have a say in what we do on the pitch. The people I need to impress, as I said, are the manager, the coaching staff and ultimately My teammates are there. If I have their trust, then I will also have the fans’ trust.”

Ramsdale’s early trials were recorded for posterity in Amazon’s upcoming all-or-nothing documentary on Arsenal, which he hopes will give supporters a chance to understand “one of the best jobs in the world”. One of the best, but at the same time one of the worst jobs. He and his teammates are at great pains to contemplate the relentless stress of life as a top footballer, a job where your entire emotional state can swing rapidly on a 90-minute basis.

However, if anyone feels the strain more keenly than the Arsenal goalkeeper, it might be his father Nick. The Ramsdale family followed their son home and away and were with him as he pursued a dream career. Indeed, after discussing his potential new signing, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta phoned Ramsdale senior to find out more about the man he would hand the goalkeeper’s gloves to.

The contents of the call between Nick and Arteta have been kept secret even from his son — “If he made a fool of himself, he made a fool of himself” — but Ramsdale could soon see his nerves. . Fumbling around his box at the Emirates Stadium as he made his Premier League debut against Norwich. Even 37 games into his Arsenal career, those fears have not subsided and have hardly subsided with the ball at the young goalkeeper’s feet.

“He hates it. He hates it,” says Ramsdell. “Especially now, he tells me every week to stop him going into midfield because it gives him a heart attack. I think in previous years it was the opposite, my mum was probably the one who lost and Struggling with leaving and stuff. I think it affected him more, he knew what kind of man I was, stronger than my mom thought. Now it’s the other way around, where on the ball. I have a lot of responsibility and it makes his heart bigger. More attack mom than me, I’m sure he walks in and out of the box 24/7 throughout the game.

“I just say, ‘Talk to Michael.’ He’s actually had the boss’s number since we were signed, so every time he says ‘I will’ and I just have to pull him up and say ‘No…!’, it’s just a It’s part and parcel, it’s probably just the better we get at it, more pressure games in the Europa League, hopefully getting into the Champions League. You never know, I could play in the World Cup or the Euros. “

He might have to do it very soon indeed. The World Cup is only a few months away and right now Ramsdale looks set for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad. It even has supporters for an overhaul. Jordan Pickford And became England’s No. 1 in Qatar. Among them is Brendan Rodgers, who knows all too well the frustration of coming up against an in-form Ramsdale.

Early in his Arsenal career the goalkeeper denied a save of the season. James Madison From a Leicester free-kick. Several months later, he thwarted the Foxes once again with a brilliant block. Harvey Barnes The header prompts Rodgers to label Ramsdale “the best English keeper at the moment”.

It took some time for the news to filter through to the man himself. “If I had commented on it, it probably would have popped up on the timeline or something. It was probably two days later when a guy in the dressing room asked if I had seen what Brendan had said about me.

“It’s always great, from this week on you feel 10 feet taller to respect another manager but the thing for me is that it wasn’t said by the England manager. I still believe it. Had to hope that was the case. And there’s still a long way to go.”

A place in the squad looks assured unless Ramsdale’s form falls off a cliff in the next few months, but they are taking nothing for granted. “I’m in and around it right now. Things can change very quickly, especially with Jordan going into this season. [Pickford]myself Sam Johnstone, Dan Henderson, Nick Pope.

“There will probably be five or six English goalkeepers trying to get on the plane. So, even though I’m around at the moment, I need to put myself there.”

If, as seems likely, Ramsdale manages to secure a World Cup spot, there could be more stressful days ahead for his father. At least then there won’t be any television cameras capturing every moment of his ordeal.