Aaron Ramsdale has told The Yours, Mine, Away Podcast that Bernd Leno had been outstanding for Arsenal in the years before he arrived at the Emirates, as he opened up on wrestling the number one spot from the German.
Ramsdale has enjoyed a stunning time since making a surprise move to the Gunners in 2021. Of course, at the time, the Englishman was coming off the back of two successive relegations from the Premier League.
Many Arsenal fans were scratching their heads wondering why the Gunners were planning to spend big on Ramsdale. But within a few weeks of his first season with the club, the 24-year-old had taken the number one spot off Leno and was well on his way towards securing cult-hero status amongst the supporters.
Bernd Leno had been outstanding
Leno had done little wrong before the change. In Arsenal’s darker periods, the 30-year-old had arguably been the club’s best player. And he was certainly one member of the side who deserved no criticism after they opened last season with three defeats on the spin.
Ultimately, Leno left the club in the summer, joining Fulham. And Ramsdale opened up on the process of forcing his way into the side. He also expressed his admiration for his former teammate.
“This was Bernd Leno, this is an international goalkeeper who’s been outstanding for the past three years. And it wasn’t his fault that the team were losing games,” he told The Yours, Mine, Away Podcast.
“So it wasn’t just: ‘he’s having a stinker, I’m in’. He was still performing very, very well. And I just had the opportunity to get in. And I knew when I got my chance, I just had to stay there.
“Some of his saves he’s making, I can’t do that,” he went on to add.
Ramsdale deserves enormous credit for the way that he kept Leno out of the side. Goalkeepers go through difficult patches. And yet, there was very little talk of a goalkeeper as good as Leno regaining his place in the side last season.
Surely, Arsenal would have loved nothing more than to keep Leno pushing Ramsdale. But they also knew that he was unlikely to be content with being a backup. They brought Matt Turner in earlier this year.
Ramsdale has not let his standards slip at the start of this season. It certainly appears that Arsenal could have their number one locked in for many years to come.
And the Gunners have definitely been vindicated for making the switch from Leno to Ramsdale 12 months ago.