Mikel Arteta makes Arsenal goalkeeper ‘regrets’ admission amid Aaron Ramsdale, David Raya debate

Ewan West
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal head coach) at the Arsenal v Nottingham Forest match
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal head coach) at the Arsenal v Nottingham Forest match

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has spoken about having “few regrets” in his managerial career so far, but revealed one of them is not substituting his goalkeepers during matches.

The Spaniard admitted there have been two occasions in games where he felt he should have changed his goalkeeper, bit did not “have the courage to do it.”

Arteta has been questioned for signing David Raya, a top goalkeeper to compete with previously-established No 1 Aaron Ramsdale. The 28-year-old joined in the summer transfer window from Brentford on a season-long loan, which includes an option to make the move permanent for £27 million.

The 41-year-old coach handed the Spanish international goalkeeper his Arsenal debut at Goodison Park against Everton on Sunday. Raya impressed and kept a clean sheet as the Gunners’ won 1-0.

Ramsdale had started all of Arsenal’s opening four Premier League games this season, as well as their Community Shield victory over Manchester City, prior to their trip to Merseyside. The 25-year-old also played in England’s 3-1 win against Scotland last week.

Arteta faced criticism from fans and pundits over his decision to drop Ramsdale in favour of Raya for the Everton game.

READ MORE: High-profile Arsenal fan believes Arteta ‘humiliated’ Gunners man who’s done nothing wrong

Speaking following his side’s 1-0 win at Goodison Park, the Arsenal boss explained his choice to rotate his goalkeepers and suggested he may even do this during matches.

“It’s the same rationale as to why Fabio [Vieira] and Gabby [Jesus] played – I haven’t had a single question about why Gabriel hasn’t been starting. He has won more trophies than anybody else in that dressing room, including me,” said Arteta in his press conference.

“I want Aaron to react the same as Gabriel Jesus. The same as Kai Havertz, as Takehiro Tomiyasu. Exactly the same. We play with 11 players, not 10 plus one.

“I’m a really young manager, I’ve been in the job three and a half years. I have few regrets, but one of them is that on two occasions, I felt after 60 minutes and 85 minutes of two games in this period to change the goalkeeper in that moment.

“I didn’t do it, I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to take a winger or striker and put a centre-back on to play a back five to hold on to a result. We drew those games, and I was so unhappy.

“Someone is going to do it, and maybe [people will say] that’s strange. But why not? Tell me why not. You have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something, you want to change the momentum, do it.

“It’s a regret that I have. Now my feeling is to get everybody engaged, that they have to play regardless of the competition. That’s my message. We adapt to our qualities that our players have, and try to play to their strengths.

“There are games to do certain things, games to do other things. In my opinion it was really important against Everton, and it was really important to benefit the team.”

Arsenal sit fourth in the Premier League – in joint-second place with Tottenham and Liverpool on 13 points – after five games. The Gunners face PSV in their opening Champions League group stage match on Wednesday.

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