Arsenal star admits World Cup is coming ‘six months too soon’ for him to ‘really challenge’

Arsenal and England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has admitted that the World Cup in Qatar is coming “six months too soon” for him to “really challenge”.

The Gunners splashed out an initial £24m to sign Ramsdale last year following Sheffield United’s relegation down to the Championship.

Some mocked Arsenal for paying such a significant fee for a goalkeeper who was yet to show his full potential in the Premier League.

Ramsdale started his two league games on the bench but he replaced Bernd Leno following Arsenal’s 5-0 loss against Man City.

The Englishman did not look back from this point as he went on to make 39 appearances for Arsenal during his debut season.

The 24-year-old proved a lot of his doubters wrong in 2021/22 as he was one of the signings of the season. 

Ramsdale was integral as Arsenal mounted a surprising push for a spot in the Champions League.

The Gunners fell short in the end but his form for them has led to him becoming a regular under Gareth Southgate for England.

He is likely to go to this winter’s World Cup and compete for a place with Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope.

Pickford is currently Southgate’s first-choice and the Everton star has performed well this term.

Ramsdale is aware that he will likely be a backup to Pickford at this winter’s tournament:

“I think the World Cup personally is six months too soon for me to really challenge,” Ramsdale admitted on the Yours, Mine, Away podcast.

“I’ve said this a few times, it’s not really for people to go: ‘Oh no, you should be number one’.

“I’m being realistic, I’ve played three times for England with a World Cup coming in six weeks. I’m not really going to play.

“But that’s not me throwing the towel in. I’m fighting to be that starting goalkeeper. But if I’m not, I’ll support whoever is the best that I can.”

Ramsdale has also praised ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The German left the club to join Fulham on a permanent deal this summer after losing his place to the England international.

Leno has since come out and claimed that he was hampered by “politics” behind the scenes at Arsenal.

Ramsdale has suggested that Leno “was still performing very well” when he lost his place last season:

“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,” Ramsdale added.

“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.”

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