Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya has credited the competitive rivalry with Aaron Ramsdale for enhancing his skills and contributing to his growth as a goalkeeper.
Raya joined Arsenal in the summer on loan from Brentford and has successfully displaced Ramsdale as Mikel Arteta’s first choice goalkeeper.
Ramsdale had been Arteta's number one for the previous two seasons, helping the club compete for the title last term and return to the Champions League.
The Englishman was very popular with the fans and is a top-tier goalkeeper having been named in the Premier League Team of the Season ahead of Manchester City’s treble winner Ederson, and Liverpool’s Allison Becker.
How David Raya is embracing Arsenal goalkeeper battle
Raya acknowledged the quality of his teammate and emphasised their amicable relationship while acknowledging the challenges of vying for a single position.
"We're teammates contending for one role," Raya told Evening Standard. "Being a goalkeeper, there's only room for one on the field, and my focus remains on contributing as much as I can to the team."
Highlighting the positive aspects of their rivalry, Raya stressed the mutual improvement resulting from their daily training battles.
"Aaron and I share a constructive relationship; our competition only drives us to be better individuals, benefiting the team collectively," he remarked, shedding light on their collaborative efforts aimed at enhancing their goalkeeping abilities.
Despite the intense scrutiny surrounding the goalkeeper position since his arrival, Raya remains resolute in his dedication to on-field performance, disregarding external noise and focusing solely on football.
The Spaniard helped Arsenal move back to the top of the table with a clean sheet against Brighton on Sunday at the Emirates, setting the stage for a top-of-the-table showdown with Liverpool at Anfield.
Looking ahead to the challenging fixture at Anfield, Raya expressed confidence in adhering to Arteta's strategic approach, reaffirming his commitment to playing from the back, even in a potentially hostile environment.
"I'm committed to executing the manager's tactics," Raya affirmed. "Regardless of the setting, winning games the way the gaffer envisions remains our primary objective."
Anticipating the formidable atmosphere at Anfield, Raya acknowledged the intensified pressure of playing in such an environment but underscored the team's focus on their own performance rather than external influences.
"Our focus must remain on our game rather than the atmosphere," he stated.