Aaron Ramsdale has backed Bukayo Saka to be promoted and earn England’s World Cup penalty after praising his Arsenal team-mate for his “no-nonsense” response to his Euro 2020 disappointment.
After missing the decision in the final defeat to Italy, Saka was subjected to racist abuse – as were Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who also did not fare well there.
Saka has scored all of Arsenal’s goals since missing out on Wembley, including in big games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Asked if he thought Saka would still get one for England, Ramsdale replied: “Absolutely. It’s three from three from that day.
“I think he realizes that’s what happened to him and he can’t resist doing it because that’s the type of person he is. He knows how he feels and I hope that the next time he steps up he can put the ball in the back of the net.”
The club’s performances for Ramsdale and Saka – along with defender Ben White – mean the Gunners have three representatives in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
Saka has let his football do the talking as he finished last season as Arsenal’s top scorer and has been one of the standout players so far this season as they sit five points clear of the Premier League title.
“Probably, maybe,” Ramsdale said when asked how he felt about Saka’s handling of last year’s offense.
“The kid is a lovely boy, he has time to spend with everyone, he works hard every week. Often, he often misses a training session and uses all the encouragement to criticize him and especially the love that everyone gave him, it gives him extra encouragement.
“Don’t forget that he was pressured by the whole football team last year – he and Emile Smith Rowe were our guys – and he handled it, he handled everything else. He’s doing well and I can’t wait to see him do well.
Ramsdale went on to say that there was “no doubt” that Saka was now a stronger man “from the pitch and there” since the incident and that it had made him a “complete man”.
“When we missed the top four, he felt it was his fault because he couldn’t take care of us,” added Ramsdale.
“I just showed that before the season ended in eighth, this season we finished in fifth, and if we go one step further we will be in the top four. That’s how they see it: it’s a football game and there’s a lot. a lot to it.”
Despite backing Saka to improve in the position, Ramsdale also revealed that England do not plan to take penalties against the goal-scoring players for fear that the trio could make saves and undermine confidence among the scorers.
“So far we haven’t done anything with the goalkeepers, we have something called the net skill where the corners are open,” he said.
“At the moment, I think these guys are just using a different strategy. I think it can be harmful if they are taking them against gold because we start to know where they are going.
“We can start to gamble a little bit, especially if we don’t want to score all the time. Then, later rounds, I think we’ll start to see them get replaced by goal scorers.
“If I know where you’re going seven times out of 10 and start cheating and go early and start keeping them, you can start to worry. Start by looking at where you’re going in the skill net, take two. against
goalkeeper and we go from there.
“Because everyone can receive sanctions, it’s a fine line that we can’t create again unfortunately.”
Ramsdale’s father became a religious figure All or Nothing: Arsenal documentary that aired Amazon earlier this year – what they did on the field shows how strong the family is.
“There were a few tears that came out of him,” Ramsdale said when he told his father he was in the group.
“I think when I get to the stadium, he won’t come home. He might have a heart attack.
“It’s special for my family, especially for my mom and dad who drove around the world, flying me around the world. They don’t have nails, let’s sing like this.”
Gallagher was ‘a bit surprised’ to be invited
Conor Gallagher wants to make a surprise appearance in England’s World Cup squad after admitting he has a chance to stay in Qatar.
Gallagher has made 18 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season but has only started five times.
A lack of minutes saw the Chelsea player return to the England U21s team in September, adding to his surprise when he received news on the physio’s bedside last Thursday that he was in Southgate’s World Cup squad.
“I wasn’t really expecting it, but obviously I was hoping there was a chance,” Gallagher said.
“I remained hopeful and when I received the letter I was proud and honored.
“I told my father first. Always. He will be the first person I tell the wonderful news to because he loves me so much, and inspires me so much.”
Asked if he felt lucky to be in the squad because of the competition, he said: “Yes, like I said, I was a bit surprised.
“I have never played regular football with Chelsea and as a team, Chelsea have not played well this season – we have a lot to do and I believe we will.”
“But I’m happy and honored that the England manager has shown faith in me and seen what I can do after playing for Chelsea this season and last season.”