Former Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno insists that he “sympathises” with his old teammate Aaron Ramsdale after the England international suffered the same fate as him in being dropped by Mikel Arteta.
Leno was the first-choice at The Emirates before Arteta ousted him in favour of Ramsdale, prior to his eventual move to London rivals Fulham.
And the German has revealed that he was given “a couple of excuses I didn’t understand” as to why Ramsdale was favoured ahead of him. Leno also revealed that he was sold despite telling Arteta that he “wanted to fight for my place”.
In an ironic twist, Ramsdale now faces the same situation after being dropped for summer loan signing David Raya for the last two games.
And, speaking about his own experiences at Arsenal, Leno told The Times: “At the start of the 2021 season, we lost the first three games and after the international break all of a sudden it was, ‘We need to change players and have positive energy’.
“There were a couple of excuses I didn’t understand and I have to say, unfortunately, it’s more or less the same with Ramsdale. It has happened [again] after the international break. I was thinking: ‘That’s more or less the same as with me.’
“I was thinking about Aaron, he’s a very good guy. I know how he feels, there are some similarities. When I wanted to fight for my place, the goalkeeper coach said, ‘You have to leave the club.’ When he said it wasn’t about performance, I knew straight away I had to leave.
“I don’t know if they didn’t want two strong ‘keepers. I had one year left on my contract. So it was the last time to make money off me.”
Leno not in agreement over strange Arteta admission
However, Arteta has claimed he plans to rotate both Raya and Ramsdale during a season in which the Gunners also have a busy Champions League schedule, admitting he’d even consider substituting goalkeepers during a game.
But when asked about Arteta’s surprising comments, Leno said he would be taken aback if he was ever substituted without being injured. “I would feel very strange and very surprised if I would see the No 17 was coming off in minute 75.
“Everyone in the stadium would be surprised. It doesn’t matter if it’s myself or Alisson [the Liverpool ‘keeper], it doesn’t make sense. And it wouldn’t make sense if I was the goalie who was coming on. The ‘keeper coming on would feel even worse than me, coming on and not warmed up with no contact with the ball and no feeling for the distances.”
Ramsdale is expected to start on the bench again when Arsenal return to action in the north London derby against Tottenham at The Emirates on Sunday.