Aaron Ramsdale lifts lid on secret to fast start at Arsenal, being inside England's Euro 2020 squad and World Cup hopes
AARON RAMSDALE says England’s Euros heartbreak inspired him to reach new heights for Arsenal this season.
And the Gunners No.1 is confident he will be on the plane to Qatar if he continues to shine for club and country in the next few months.
Ramsdale, 23, was not selected for Gareth Southgate’s original 26-man squad for the Euros last summer – but got a late call-up after an injury to Manchester United’s Dean Henderson.
The Stoke-born shot-stopper watched on from the sidelines as the Three Lions lost out to Italy in the final on penalties – but has gone from strength to strength since then.
Signing for Arsenal on August 20, Ramsdale has now cemented himself as a starter for Mikel Arteta and made his senior England debut on November 15 against San Marino.
With 12 clean sheets and already a scrapbook or world class saves to his name, Ramsdale is one of the Premier League’s most talented keepers.
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He looks set to challenge Jordan Pickford to start at the Qatar World Cup in November.
And of last summer, he said: “Being part of a team that made history and get so close to achieving something very special has definitely given me drive and determination to be a part of the team for many more years to come.
“I’ve taken this into my time at Arsenal as well. You see how hard people work and they try to max their level day in day out and it inspires you to become a better player.
“Signing for Arsenal was an easy decision looking at the size of the club and the manager that they have.
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“Seeing friendly faces that I’ve played with and known for a long time always helps in any walk of life.
“I felt included straight away and I didn’t have to shy away in the corner waiting for someone to talk to me.
“We look out for each other. It’s quite natural for all of us off the pitch and we really get on.
“Bukayo Saka was the first person to greet me when I came to Arsenal so having him in the squad was a great help.
“For England, Gareth creates a family orientated atmosphere and that’s what it feels like when you meet up with the entire squad – long may that continue.
“It allowed me to be myself and settle in quickly and it is one of the reasons why I have managed to make an impact this season.”
Arsenal are favourites to land a Champions League spot this season after recovering from losing their opening three games of the campaign without scoring a goal.
Promoting the McDonald’s Fun Football Programme, Ramsdale – who has been out injured since losing to Liverpool on March 16 – added: “As a team, we want to finish as high up the table as we can.
“We’ve put ourselves in a great place and as a group we are improving with every game.
“Right now, it’s about staying in the hunt so in the final few weeks of the season it is in our hands.
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“Personally, I’ve been working hard to get fully fit again. Hopefully I can help the team achieve our goal for the season and keep a few more clean sheets on the way.
“Ultimately, if I can carry good form in to next season hopefully I can be on that plane to Qatar.”
**To give your child their grassroots debut and for the latest information about McDonald’s Fun Football sessions which provide free football for children aged 5-11, visit McDonalds.com/Football and follow @FunFootballUK on Twitter and Instagram**
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