Mikel Arteta says any suggestion he failed to explain to Bernd Leno why the German was being dropped is wide of the mark.
Signed from Bayer Leverkusen in 2018, the 29-year-old has been the club’s undisputed first-choice between the sticks for much of the last three years.
When contract talks stalled, the Gunners took the decision to recruit Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United and, in recent weeks, the England international has been given his opportunity to shine. Three wins in the Premier League and two clean sheets suggest Leno may not get his place back anytime soon.
Understandably, the German hasn’t taken his demotion particularly well. In an interview with Sport Bild earlier this week, he said: “There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance.
“He [Arteta] is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it’s difficult for me.
“Only if nothing changes in my situation by winter would I have to think about things: what option do I have, how can I continue? I’m concentrating on my work in training; I can’t commit to anything else at the moment.”
Asked about Leno’s comments ahead of the trip to Brighton, Arteta responded: “I had a very clear conversation with him 48 hours before I was going to make the decision.
“Obviously any conversation I have with him is completely private and I’m not going to speak with any media about it.”
On what he now expects from Leno, he added: “The same that he’s done every single day.
“Train the way he does, be the way he is, the person he is, the way he handles himself, and try to help the other keepers and the other keepers try to help him.”