Wayne Rooney has revealed his surprise at how well Aaron Ramsdale has performed this season, hailing the Arsenal goalkeeper’s character as his best asset. Eyebrows were raised when the Gunners parted with a reported £ 24 million to sign the 23-year-old from Sheffield United last summer.
Ramsdale had suffered successive relegations with the Blades and Bournemouth in his previous two seasons, and there were doubts as to whether he could make the step up to a club the size of Arsenal. However, those fears have been laid to rest with stopper proving to be an inspired signing by Mikel Arteta.
The Englishman eventually replaced Bernd Leno as the Gunners’ No.1 and has been an integral part of their challenge for fourth spot this season. And Rooney paid tribute to Ramsdale’s form, highlighting the role he’s played in Arsenal’s improved defensive record this term.
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“I think he’s surprised me if I’m being honest, I didn’t think he’d do as well as he has done for Arsenal,” Rooney said on Monday Night Football in the build up to Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace.
“But he’s come in and his character alone, forget about the goalkeeping to start with, his character, I think he’s brought a lot more to that back four then some of the saves, his distribution with his feet has been good so he’s surprised me but I’m glad he’s doing really well. ”
Ramsdale returned to Arsenal’s starting XI for the trip to Selhurst Park after missing the Gunners’ 1-0 win at Aston Villa prior to the international break with a muscle injury. However, he couldn’t prevent Arteta’s side from slipping to a damaging defeat in south London.
Goals from Jean Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and a second half penalty from Wilfried Zaha condemned the away side to a 3-0 defeat. Arsenal remain fifth behind north London rivals Tottenham on goal difference, however they do have a game in hand.