Mikel Arteta praises 'top' Bernd Leno for Arsenal reaction in recent weeks
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta opted to go with new goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale against Norwich City last time out, with Bernd Leno dropped to the bench.
Leno had put himself under immediate pressure with a few shaky displays for the Gunners in their opening three games. And after landing Ramsdale from Sheffield United in the summer, Arteta wasted little time in chucking the England man in at the deep end.
Ramsdale kept a clean-sheet on his full debut to add to the one he got in the League Cup. He is expected to play again this weekend, although Arteta suggested that has not been decided yet.
There has also been talk that Leno didn’t take too kindly to being dropped.
However, Arteta told his press conference yesterday that this is not the case, and Leno has indeed been ‘top’ since he was replaced.
Arteta backs Leno for Arsenal ahead of Burnley
Many had expected Leno to keep the number one spot for some time. But Arsenal’s bad start, coupled with the addition of Ramsdale, has seen him moved aside for now.
But rather than sulk, Arteta told Arsenal.com that the German has been more than fine in recent weeks.
“No, that’s not true. He can be frustrated but he was top with his team-mates and in team training. That’s not true,” Arteta said when asked about if he was worried how Leno had responded.
“We had to change something and Aaron has come in here to try to make us better. We needed a result on the day and I decided to play him, that’s all.
“Obviously for Bernd, it wasn’t a pleasing communication to tell him he wasn’t playing but he is a top professional and a top person so he should be disappointed but he should support his team-mate like they all do with him every time he has played, and that’s exactly what he has done.”
TBR’s View: Ramsdale now number one ahead of Leno…for now at least
Things change so quickly in football and especially at Arsenal. So while Ramsdale has the number one jersey for now, you can bet Leno comes back in at some point.
In reality, it’s a good headache for Arteta to have. And if Leno is responding as he says, then that can only be a good thing.
The problem will come if the German starts to sulk. Then he will need to be moved on. Arsenal can ill-afford players not fully onboard.