England: Gareth Southgate warned ’embarrassing’ Arsenal star should not be in Euro 2024 squad

Lewis Oldham
Southgate England
Gareth Southgate and Aaron Ramadale.

England boss Gareth Southgate has been warned that he’s made a mistake including Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in his squad for Euro 2024.

Ramsdale is coming off a torrid season at Arsenal as he has been usurped in the pecking order by Spain international David Raya.

The Englishman barely put a foot wrong in his two seasons as Arsenal‘s first-choice goalkeeper, but head coach Mikel Arteta replaced him last summer as they beat Man Utd and Bayern Munich in the race to sign Raya from Brentford.

Raya struggled at the start of the season but he grew into his debut campaign at the Emirates as Ramsdale was restricted to six Premier League appearances.

Ramsdale’s lack of appearances at club level was expected to lead to him missing out on Euro 2024, but he has been included in Southgate’s final 26-man squad with Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Crystal Palace’s Dean Henderson.

The Arsenal backup made it into the final squad ahead of Burnley’s James Trafford, who dropped out of the reckoning after being included in England’s provisional 33-man squad.

After ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Emmanuel Petit questioned Southgate’s decision to “pick a player that didn’t play for the whole season” on The Panel, former England international Emile Heskey added: “Gareth Southgate is probably looking at the quality of what’s actually coming in behind him.

“Don’t get me wrong, we had James Trafford playing, he’s a young under 21s player – would you rather put someone like that in to be second or third choice, just to be around it?

“Because the reality is he’s not going to play, is he. So it would be just to be around it, so we know what the next generation is going to be up against.”

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Petit then added: “I don’t have any worries about his [Ramsdale’s] quality but I worry about his mental strength, because he’s been through a very difficult year.

“It was sometimes very embarrassing to watch him on the bench. A goalkeeper is different to a player on the pitch. Mentally, they have to be very strong.

“After this season, I’m wondering if he’s fit to play a big competition like this – for example if Pickford gets injured.”

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Discussing England’s chances at Euro 2024, Heskey pointed out that Southgate’s team is “more gelled” but Harry Maguire will be a “big loss”.

“I think this team looks a little bit more gelled and we’ve done well in recent tournaments with reaching the semi-finals and a final, but the next step is to win it,” Heskey added.

“Having the right structure and the right togetherness is key because that’s what’s going to get you through. This group is quite a favourable group for England to get their team across the line.

“However, defensively is where we struggle. Maguire is a big loss.”

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