Mikel Arteta reacts to claim Bernd Leno will start North London derby
Mikel Arteta has insisted that he has not yet decided who will start the North London derby in goal for Arsenal amid rumours Bernd Leno has been told he will come back in for Spurs’ visit – in comments reported by Football London.
The Arsenal boss sprung a surprise for the win over Norwich. Leno was on the bench. Instead, Arteta promoted Aaron Ramsdale for the clash.
The decision appeared to leave a question mark hanging over Leno’s future at the Emirates. The Daily Mail reported shortly after the win that Arsenal could consider selling the 29-year-old next summer.
However, as noted by Football London, there were reports in Germany claiming that Leno had been told he would start against Tottenham.
But when asked about those suggestions, Arteta insisted that he would not have done such a thing – particularly with another game in between.
“I don’t know where they are coming from but they are ahead of me,” he said, as reported by Football London. “I think I am the one who picks the team at the weekend and sometimes I read things that I haven’t decided yet.
“They give me ideas at the most. But nothing else because I haven’t made a decision on my team for Saturday or imagine for the North London derby.”
Dangerous for Arteta to assure Leno over regaining Arsenal place
Arteta has done the right thing if he has indeed kept his options open. Ramsdale did little wrong against Norwich.
And if he keeps a clean sheet against Burnley, it would make little sense to drop him for Spurs.
Of course, Leno has plenty of derby experience. And some fans felt that he was one of the only players who deserved some credit after the defeat to Manchester City.
But Ramsdale now has the spot. And it would be a bizarre move for Arteta to choose his derby goalkeeper already.
It would be even more perplexing if he went one step further and had told one of his players what decision he had come to.