Aaron Ramsdale’s father claims his son has “lost his smile” after he criticised Mikel Arteta’s handling over dropping the Arsenal goalkeeper.
The former Sheffield United and Bournemouth stopper, 25, arrived at the Emirates in 2021 and instantly became No1, a post he held until September this year.
Summer signing David Raya, who arrived on an initial loan from Brentford, was picked instead of the England international for the win at Everton in September.
The star has continued to be picked since by Arteta, with Ramsdale’s only outings since coming in the Carabao Cup, despite the boss initially claiming that the pair would rotate starts.
Ramsdale admitted last month that he was “suffering and hurting” but vowed to work well with the man who has taken his spot.
Now his dad, Nick, has been discussing the situation with Sophie Nicolaou and former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell on The Highbury Squad podcast.
He said as cited by Sports Central: “Aaron’s lost that smile to when he was holding on to that ball at this moment in time. “And it is difficult. It really is difficult to see him there and we all keep saying you need to keep smiling. “David Raya is a great goalkeeper and it is not his fault. He’s just come in as a goalkeeper. David Raya, Aaron says, he is a lovely guy and he works hard with him and Aaron’s trying to help him as much as he can to settle in with the squad. “It’s possibly the way it's been done. Not knowing the reason why, and this is me because we don’t know why. “Again, Aaron is working as hard as he can. He’s trying to do his best for the squad. He’s upbeat and he’ll do everything for Arsenal to try and win the league.”
Nick also stated that the atmosphere inside the Emirates on matchdays has “dropped like a lead ballon”, saying: “It's not as fun as it used to be. “It was toxic when Aaron arrived and then it became a house party, last season was a house party - it now seems like mum and dad have got home, there's a mess everywhere, mum and dad aren't happy and the atmosphere has dropped like a lead balloon. “Maybe it’s sour grapes from me. If we win the Premier League it doesn't matter if the atmosphere isn't so good.”
Nick then revealed a conversation between him and Arteta and claimed that the Arsenal manager made it clear to him that he only wanted his son despite Raya’s agent recently stating that his client had been a long-term transfer target for the Gunners.
Nick, who also said that Arsenal sometimes “need to play beer football” as they can’t play “champagne football all the time”, says: “When I spoke to Mr Arteta on the phone before he signed Aaron, he said he wanted Aaron. “But now, you know, David Raya’s back on the market and he’s had David Raya.”
Ramsdale actually penned a new long-term contract extension just weeks before Raya came in - and Nick says he agreed to that without the knowledge that he would soon be playing second fiddle to somebody else.
He said: “Why would you extend a goalkeeper or any player’s contract and then two months later, or three months later… “No, we did not have a clue, I didn’t have a clue, our family didn’t have a clue, Aaron didn’t have a clue that he was not going to carry on playing.”
He then stated that Ramsdale, who admitted he struggles to concentrate all game to Ian Wright previously, has not been told by Arteta exactly what his role now is, saying: “Aaron is going to be the cup goalkeeper, and David Raya is going to be the main man unless something happens, an injury or a sending-off. “Aaron’s got to live with that and he is living with that even though he’s not been told it. By anybody.”
But he then showed his support for Raya by adding: “You’ve got to give the guy a chance for God’s sake. Even though the way it’s been done, in my eyes, it's been wrong and we can talk about that but it’s the decision. “Really and truly we’ve got to get behind David Raya. He’s part of the family now. “Whether it's only until May-June of next year. It won’t be, it’ll be longer in my eyes, but that’s by the by.”.