Aaron Ramsdale says it’s well-documented that Arsenal have been “missing leaders” in recent years and says he knew he might have to “shake things up” when he joined the club.
Signed from Sheffield United for £24 million in August, few expected the 23-year-old to usurp first choice keeper Bernd Leno so quickly. But that’s exactly what has happened with the vocal Yorkshireman, taking the challenge by the scruff of the neck.
Handed his debut against West Brom in the Carabao Cup, he took advantage of the last international break to persuade Mikel Arteta he was ready for Premier League minutes. The Spaniard duly obliged and three clean sheets in four games suggest Leno may find it difficult getting his place back.
Rewarded with a recall to the England squad, Ramsdale says he’s enjoying the opportunity to bring a new energy to the Gunners training ground.
“When I came in, I got told to be myself,” he told the Guardian.
“My character is to be loud, be a leader and show passion. I also knew that I might have to shake things up in a positive way and my own way.
“I think it is well documented that they were missing leaders but I don’t think we’ve all turned into leaders all of a sudden.
“The team that is playing at the moment is just full of confidence and working well together.
He added: “I don’t think we’ve now all of a sudden all turned into leaders, I just think now this team that is playing at the moment is full of confidence, we are working together, we’re earning each other’s respect and playing better football.
“Leaders come out in different ways, Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo are young lads, but they lead by example with the performances.
“And, you’ve got Granit Xhaka, myself, Gabriel, Ben White who are vocal and you’ve got the captain himself, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is our talisman, our go-to man and we’re all different leaders in our own way.”
Ramsdale also made clear that Arsenal are on a mission to arrest a recent decline and that the determination to get back into Europe was palpable from his first day.
“You can sense it as soon as you walk through the doors that the club aren’t happy where they are,” he said.
“We want European football. It might have to be the Europa League and then the Champions League but we want to get back there. You understand the pressures that brings but it’s an enjoyable challenge.
“At the training ground, you see the history. The players that have played here with their unique numbers – as we have with England. You’ve got the Invincibles on the walls everywhere. It’s now our time to put some new history there.”