Martin Odegaard has welcomed the increased competition for places at Arsenal and says the situation will ensure the team keeps improving.
The Gunners’ schedule means Mikel Arteta’s squad is likely to be stretched to the limit over the coming four weeks and he lay down a marker at Everton on Sunday with a lineup that raised a few eyebrows.
Fabio Vieira took over from summer signing Kai Havertz, Eddie Nketiah kept his place over Gabriel Jesus and loanee David Raya was handed his debut between the sticks at the expense of Aaron Ramsdale.
When Arsenal were forced into a change midway through the first half, the injured Gabriel Martinelli making way for Leandro Trossard, the Belgian demonstrated his quality with a winning goal that underlined the strength in depth on the bench.
“We have so many quality players, the players on the bench can come on and change the game if we need it,” Odegaard told the Press Association.
“The competition for places is huge and I think that is a great thing for us and helps a lot.
“You see in training every day the quality we have so everyone has to be on their best every day in training and that’s a good thing and will help us improve as a team as well.”
Odegaard went on to praise the quality of the goalkeepers at Arteta’s disposal and, in particular, the professionalism of Ramsdale, who, for the first time since he became the club’s undisputed number one two years ago, was benched.
“I think he [Ramsdale] will just keep working hard, like he is always doing,” said the Arsenal captain.
“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.”
In just over 24 hours’ time, he’ll face more of the same. At 3.30pm (UK time) on Tuesday, the Spaniard sits down with the media again, this time to preview Arsenal’s first Champions League game in six years.