Arsenal: The 3 players destined for international involvement

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The 3 Arsenal players destined for international involvement as Mikel Arteta’s squad continue to develop as Premier League form continues after Leicester. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

There were countless pleasing aspects from the 2-0 win over Leicester. From everywhere you look there were notable individual performances and reassuring signs of an Arsenal team on the up.

Mikel Arteta oversaw what is now a ninth game unbeaten in all competitions as goals from Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe inside 18 minutes were enough to defeat their fellow top six rivals.

With encouraging displays all round, there was one in particular who grabbed the headlines.

Summer signing Aaron Ramsdale put in a majestic display in goal as he drew praise from none other than Peter Schmeichel for his unreal flying stop to prevent James Maddison from reducing the visitors’ lead late in the first half. That was one moment on a memorable afternoon that featured elite distribution and further top class saves.

The 3 Arsenal players destined for international involvement as Mikel Arteta’s squad continue to develop as Premier League form continues after Leicester

In four away matches for the stopper he’s recorded a 100% save percentage (17/17), kept four clean sheets and clocked up a 5.2 for goals prevented. As noted by Opta, of all the goalkeepers to have faced more than two shots on target this season, only Édouard Mendy (89.7%) is enjoying a higher save percentage than the 23-year-old. (85.7%). He’s saved 24 of the 28 shots on target he has faced.

These aren’t numbers you ignore. And these aren’t numbers that Gareth Southgate can overlook for much longer either.

Key among his decision to field Jordan Pickford as England’s number one is his distribution. Having another indifferent campaign for Everton, his passing range and comfort with the ball at his feet has not been at the level Ramsdale is producing. What the latter transmits in an organisational sense and the confidence he brings to his defence is marvelous.

That isn’t to say Pickford will suddenly be usurped. This is a goalkeeper who had an excellent Euros and helped guide his country to their first major final since 1966. Ramsdale is in the better form but Southgate won’t forget the Toffees stopper’s contributions to date.

So, at the very least, he has to be second in command ahead of Sam Johnstone. Chosen over Ramsdale in the Three Lions’ recent win over Andorra, the West Brom man had a very impressive outing and even got an assist with a superb piece of quick thinking.

But Ramsdale is on a trajectory that can’t possibly be overlooked for much longer. Furthermore, he’s playing Premier League football, which Johnstone isn’t. This is serious competition for a spot in the England World Cup squad and at this rate Ramsdale has a better chance than anyone of dislodging Pickford in the team.

He’s not the only one banging on the international door, either.

Continued on next page…

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