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Stand by yer beds, Arsenal fans: here is the splendid Mr Mike McGrath with tell of your highly promising young goalie.

“It shows how far Aaron Ramsdale has come since the summer that Gareth Southgate is now planning the right time to give the Arsenal goalkeeper his England debut.  

Ramsdale, 23, was on stand-by when Southgate named his squad for the European Championship and his fourth-choice may have been forgiven for wanting to head to the beach rather than to make up the numbers, having just consecutive relegations. 

His decision to head to England’s training camp at Rockliffe Hall in Darlington and give everything for a final week was the right decision. Nick Pope’s injury saw Ramsdale included for the Euros, where he also spoke to Southgate about moving back to the Premier League.  

“Aaron did talk to me in the summer about the possibility of moving,” Southgate said. “When players ask me things like that I don’t put the England context on it because I often read about players having to move because of their World Cup hopes.

“Well, yes, but in the end they have got to be content and happy with life at their club – and that’s got to be the first thing you sort out. He knew there was a challenge going to Arsenal and trying to get in the team. 

“He’s got in earlier than he thought he might have done when he initially moved there, but he was prepared to take the challenge on.”

Ramsdale’s personality and playing his part in pushing Jordan Pickford in training was part of the thinking behind picking him for the Euros. 

His character has shone through at Arsenal since breaking into the first team and keeping his place ahead of Bernd Leno. He went viral for joining in with Leicester fans with the familiar chant of “You’re s***, ahhhhh” towards goalkeeper’s taking a long kick.  

“When we picked him in the summer, we got stick for picking a ‘keper that had got relegated. So it’s funny how things change, isn’t it?” said Southgate., 

“We have liked that personality. One of the reasons we brought him in in the summer, we knew that personality form the Under-20s, the Under-21s. He’d been across to train with us previously. We felt he fitted in with the group really well. He understood that his role was to sacrifice for the group.

“He’s progressing really well. Of course he’s got to do this now over a longer period of time. But his performances at the end of last season were very good and his performances at the beginning of this season have been very good as well.”

When Ramsdale makes his debut will depend on when England qualify for the World Cup. They could secure their place in Qatar on Friday if they beat Albania and results go their way, although they may need a point against San Marino. 

“One of the things I’m conscious of is when players travel and don’t always play that it has got a shelf-life and over the years with goalkeepers that has caused quite a few to retire from international football,” said Southgate. 

“We’ve tried to manage that with Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone and a few others. We’ve tried to give them a taste. At some point, we’ll be doing that with Aaron. Yes, there’s a contest on. And that’s good for everyone. We’ve got competition in every position and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be the case in goal.”

Southgate also kept the door open for Ramsdale’s team-mnate Emile Smith-Rowe following his recent impressive form.  

“Normally when they’re here, when we can we go and have a look at the Under-21s  train, we watch all their matches of course, club and international, and whenever Emile’s been in I’ve had a quick chat with him,” he said. 

“Part of what I’ve said in today’s press conference is exactly to get that message to him as well, he’s a player that we know is close but he’s still very young, early stages, I don’t think he would let us down if we brought him in but also if we bring him in is he in for good or are others going to come in ahead of him in March and then we’re putting him back down?” 





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