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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has already told Aaron Ramsdale that he can deal with the adversity of being dropped by simply being himself. In a revealing essay during the summer, Ramsdale opened up on his first conversation with the Spaniard and how he adapted to the Gunners’ ‘aggressive’ style of play.
Ramsdale’s £24million transfer from Sheffield United to Arsenal in 2021 was heavily criticised. The goalkeeper had been relegated in successive campaigns with the Blades and former club Bournemouth.
But Arteta eased the pressure on Ramsdale during their first chat. Ramsdale revealed that the Gunners head coach told him to “just be yourself” in a bid to deal with the adversity.
That advice could be useful for the England international over the next few weeks. Arsenal’s usual No 1 was dropped for the 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday, with summer arrival David Raya surprisingly playing instead.
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Arteta will likely expect Ramsdale to be his usual self in training as he battles to win back his position as the first-choice goalkeeper.
“As long as the right people believe in you, and they see how hard you work and what you can bring to a team, it doesn’t matter what the haters say,” Ramsdale wrote for The Players’ Tribune. “Mikel Arteta saw something special in me, and that’s all that mattered. I remember I met with him for the first time, he said, ‘Just be yourself’.
“Maybe some people think we make a funny match, because he’s just unbelievably driven and might come across as serious. And I’m a lad who likes a joke. But for some reason, it just works.
“I remember him explaining to me that he wanted me to play a lot higher, and a lot more aggressive. And so every day in training, I would play higher, and more aggressive.”
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After initially struggling with the tactic of playing higher up the pitch, Ramsdale adapted and enjoyed two excellent seasons under Arteta.
He added: “It was brilliant, actually, because he let me explain my emotions about feeling a bit exposed in playing so aggressive, and he showed me 10, 20 times different examples of teams playing the way he wanted. Sometimes I was thinking, ‘S*** boss, we’re watching vintage Barcelona here. Are you sure we can pull this off?’
“But in the end, we were able to come to a middle ground where I wasn’t overthinking out there, and the results spoke for themselves.”
Ramsdale will hope he can spend the next few days heeding Arteta’s advice. The 25-year-old will expect to start Arsenal’s Champions League clash with PSV on Wednesday.
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