Aaron Ramsdale’s father asks Mikel Arteta for clarity on Arsenal decision costing son his smile


Aaron Ramsdale’s father has said his son has “lost that smile” at Arsenal but continues to work hard, professionally and to the benefit of Arsenal in their aim of winning the Premier League.

Ramsdale has been left on the sidelines for the majority of the current season. The Arsenal and England goalkeeper has been replaced by David Raya for the most part and ever since the 1-0 win over Everton, Ramsdale has had to make do with appearances exclusively in the League Cup.

Ramsdale spoke during the last international break about the situation. Speaking honestly he said that he was “suffering and hurting” but was keen to work well with the man who has taken his spot in the team.

“We work professionally really well together. We push each other in training and there are days where I come in and I’m down because of the situation and he picks me up. And for whatever reason, there might be a day where he’s down and even though I’m suffering and hurting for not playing, I have to stand up and be able to push him.”

Ramsdale’s character was something adored by Arsenal’s supporters and it has seen him gain something of a cult following. Admirers of Raya will be quick to point out the statistical improvements in the position since the Spaniard’s introduction.

However, the player’s agent told AFTV that Ramsdale was the “easier option” at the time they bought him. Opening up the perspective that this was inevitable the Brentford stopper would be coming in at some point.

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“Arsenal showed interest for the first time three years ago in 2021. They tried to buy him but Brentford didn’t want to sell him at any price. After they bought Aaron Ramsdale, that was an easier option, but David has always been the priority.

"This summer, he had just one year left on his contract with Brentford and Arsenal was the club that showed the most concrete interest and have always been our priority."

This has now culminated in the latest development coming from Ramsdale’s father, Nick. Speaking to Sophie Nicolaou and former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell on The Highbury Squad.

He admitted that his son has lost his smile despite the character that fans have indeed come to know and love. He said: “Aaron’s lost that smile to when he was holding onto that ball at this moment in time.

“And it is difficult. It really is difficult to see him there and we all keep saying you need to keep smiling.”

Raya has come in for criticism from some fans for high-profile errors in games and some questionable decision-making. However, Nick was keen to point out that his son tells him that the Spaniard has worked with him for the benefit of the squad.

“David Raya is a great goalkeeper and it is not his fault. He’s just come in as a goalkeeper. David Raya, Aaron says, he is a lovely guy and he works hard with him and Aaron’s trying to help him as much as he can to settle in with the squad.

“It’s possibly the way it's been done. Not knowing the reason why, and this is me because we don’t know why. Again, Aaron is working as hard as he can. He’s trying to do his best for the squad. He’s upbeat and he’ll do everything for Arsenal to try and win the league.”

Later in the show, Nick questioned co-host Campbell whether he knew the reason behind why he had been dropped when he was playing for the club. To which the former Gunners striker confirmed that it was the arrival of Ian Wright that had played such a huge part.

The next part became very eye-opening as Nick revealed the conversation between him and Arteta. Admitting that the Arsenal boss made it clear that he only wanted his son despite the aforementioned comments from Raya’s agent saying the Spaniard was always the priority.

“When I spoke to Mr Arteta on the phone before he signed Aaron, he said he wanted Aaron,” Nick said. Adding: “But now, you know, David Raya’s back on the market and he’s had David Raya.”

Ramsdale signed an extension with the club prior to the arrival of Raya. It has now been revealed this was a decision made without the knowledge he would soon be dropped.

“Why would you extend a goalkeeper or any player’s contract and then two months later, or three months later…” Campbell jumps in to say, “Make a move on someone else?” To which Nick said, “Yeah.”

Asked if there was any transparency Nick replied: “No, we did not have a clue, I didn’t have a clue, our family didn’t have a clue, Aaron didn’t have a clue that he was not going to carry on playing.”

Further on, Nick admitted that Ramsdale has not been told where he stands in the side. He said: “Aaron is going to be the cup goalkeeper, and David Raya is going to be the main man unless something happens, an injury or a sending-off.

“Aaron’s got to live with that and he is living with that even though he’s not been told it. By anybody.”

Adding: “You’ve got to give the guy a chance for God’s sake. Even though the way it’s been done, in my eyes, it's been wrong and we can talk about that but it’s the decision.

“Really and truly we’ve got to get behind David Raya. He’s part of the family now.

“Whether it's only until May-June of next year. It won’t be, it’ll be longer in my eyes, but that’s by the by.”

There was clear emotion, as there would obviously be from his father. And credit to Nick he ensured to hammer home the point that supporters should be supportive of Raya in spite of the fact he has taken Aaron’s position.

Adding that the success of the previous season cannot be lost and it can’t. Be it Ramsdale or Raya between the sticks the club must always come first and that is why the difficult decisions are made by the manager and he has had to make plenty of them.

The frustration from Nick and plenty of supporters is about opportunity and whether that is being given to Ramsdale. On a personal level, I think the decision that saw him dropped from the league is completely fair having made the decision to try and upgrade the position with Raya and based on the statistics the expectation was the move would be an upgrade which cannot be argued against.

However, losing the Champions League place too created a situation that need not have been. Be it Raya or Ramsdale these group stage games were not impacted by the selection in goal.

It was a chance to not only reward Ramsdale for his performances which were a huge help in getting us into the competition. But it also could have allowed for perhaps fairer competition between the two and not one which would have impacted results, and maybe it could have even improved them by keeping the players on their toes.

For me, things could have been done differently. But when you’re second in the league having lost only once, top of your Champions League group, and beat the treble-winning champions already it is not as if fans should be up in arms.

When the season culminates the answers will reveal themselves and the decisions made throughout the season evaluated. As Nick points out, no matter who is playing, we have got to hope Arsenal succeed because that is the main thing.

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