Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has lauded teammate Aaron Ramsdale for the “great character” he showed in response to being dropped for the Gunners’ clash with Everton on Sunday.
David Raya, signed on loan from Brentford in the summer, made his first appearance for Mikel Arteta’s side in their 1-0 win at Goodison Park, replacing Ramsdale, who has been No.1 under the Spanish boss since moving from Sheffield United in the summer of 2021.
On Ramsdale’s response to being dropped, having started England’s friendly victory over Scotland just a few days previously, Odegaard added: “I think he will just keep working hard, like he is always doing.
“He was there supporting us, cheering for us, helping us. He is a great character and he showed a very good response today by backing his team-mates, being there and giving us energy.
“Excellent from him. We have two good goalkeepers there and it’s big competition.
“Two top goalkeepers, different qualities, and both so good on the ball and in the goal as well.
“We are lucky to have two such good goalkeepers and we will see who will play, but both of them are excellent.”
Criticism has been aimed at Arteta over his decision to drop Ramsdale – though the stats go a long way to explaining it – and the Arsenal boss opened up on the call following his side’s win, revealing that he may even opt to change goalkeepers during games in future.
“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.”