Mikel Arteta is undertaking Arsenal training with a squad resembling one very different to that he had prior to facing Brighton. Bursting full of global talent, no less than 15 members of his first team are away with their respective nations.
Alexandre Lacazette must hate this time of the year. Or love it. He’s always at London Colney. Poor guy. Silly Deschamps.
But he’ll be happy to see his teammates jet off for their own ventures, one of whom is Aaron Ramsdale.
As Thomas Partey heads off to Africa and Takehiro Tomiyasu journeys all the way to Australia, it’s a shorter trip for the new goalkeeper as England take on Andorra in the Estadio Nacional before returning to London to face Hungary at Wembley Stadium.
Aaron Ramsdale set for England vs Andorra blow as Arsenal goalkeeper will be behind Sam Johnstone in Gareth Southgate’s thinking for World Cup qualifier
It’s a special moment for the 23-year-old who has earned his first call-up to the three-man goalkeeper group based solely on his performance. Getting the chance to be with the Three Lions during the European Championships, as brilliant as his inclusion was, his later involvement was down to an injury sustained to Dean Henderson. Nick Pope was previously ruled out having undergone surgery.
This time around both Henderson and Pope are available for selection, only to find themselves usurped in the squad by the former Blade: the Manchester United keeper is busy getting rinsed by Charlie Patino in Under-23 football while Pope has suffered a loss of form.
Nobody can say Ramsdale’s involvement isn’t warranted.
Keeping four clean sheets in his five Arsenal appearances, his all-round displays have been excellent under Mikel Arteta. Commanding of his box, strong with his hands and dynamic with his feet, Gareth Southgate has taken notice of the £30m man.
However, despite Jordan Pickford being given the night off against Andorra, it will be Sam Johnstone who gets the nod over the the Arsenal number one.
It will come as a blow to Ramsdale who will feel starting matches in the top-flight and keeping clean sheets might be more worthy of an England nod, but then again Johnstone is five years his senior. His time will come, and being selected in the first place over Pope and Henderson constitutes an impressive rise in just a few short weeks.
From effectively being fifth choice, he’s now third in the pecking order. At the rate he’s going at a jump up to second in Southgate’s thinking is surely around the corner.
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