Ollie Pope saluted "lucky charm" Aaron Ramsdale following his impressive century against West Indies.

Pope struck 121 from 165 deliveries at Trent Bridge as England began the second Test of their series against the Windies in dominant fashion.

Arsenal goalkeeper Ramsdale was a guest of Gunners fan Pope on Thursday, having also watched his double century against Ireland last year.

And after his sixth Test century helped England to 416 all out, the 26-year-old feels Ramsdale, who was part of the Three Lions squad that reached the Euro 2024 final, is a lucky omen.

"He messaged me last night and I managed to sort him a couple of tickets. He can come more often," Pope said.

"I'm obviously a big Arsenal fan, so I go to support him a fair bit. He seems to be my lucky charm on the cricket pitch as well."

Pope opened 2024 with a superb 196 against India in Hyderabad, but scored over 30 just once in the subsequent four Tests of the tour, while a contribution of 63 was his best for Surrey in this season's County Championship.

The 26-year-old was left questioning his ability, but highlighted the influence of England batting coach Marcus Trescothick on his upturn in fortunes in this series.

"I wouldn’t say I had doubts," Pope added, "but I was thinking: 'why is everyone else in the country scoring runs in county cricket, but England's number three isn't going out and averaging 50?'

"[Marcus] came to London, and we did some really good work, which has put me in really good stead for the Test summer."

England's Euro 2024 preparations ended on a sour note as Gareth Southgate's side produced a limp display in a surprise 1-0 defeat to Iceland at Wembley Stadium.

The absence of Jude Bellingham aside, Southgate selected a strong starting lineup but saw his side toil in the final third as Jon Thorsteinsson's early effort proved decisive. 

England started slowly as Iceland sat deep, and they were hit on the break 11 minutes in, Thorsteinsson driving a low strike behind the dive of Aaron Ramsdale and in after cutting inside John Stones on the left side of the area. 

The Three Lions missed two glaring chances to level before half-time, with Cole Palmer seeing a volley deflect wide before Harry Kane inexplicably fluffed his lines when picked out by the Chelsea man.

Stones was replaced by Ezri Konsa at the break in what appeared to be a precautionary move after the Manchester City man took a knock. England should have gone 2-0 down just after the hour-mark, but Thorsteinsson slipped when presented with a clear sight of goal.

That was the closest either side came to a goal in the second half, with substitute Ivan Toney missing England's best chance when he hooked Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross over.

Alexander-Arnold sent a cross-shot just wide in stoppage time and England were booed off at full-time, and far better will be required against Serbia next week. 

Data Debrief: Lacklustre warm-up for Three Lions

Prior to Friday's game, England had not lost their final game before any of their last 20 international tournaments (15 wins, five draws), last doing so when they went down 1-0 in Germany ahead of Euro 1968.

On that occasion, England, then world champions, fell at the first hurdle in a four-team tournament, losing out to eventual runners-up Yugoslavia. 

Gareth Southgate has plenty to mull over as he weighs up England’s options and issues ahead of selecting his European Championship squad.

The Euro 2020 runners-up will announce an expanded provisional group on May 21 and have until late on June 7 to submit their final 23-man squad to UEFA.

Following the final two friendlies before Southgate’s selection, the PA news agency takes a look at how the England boss likely sees his options.

GOALKEEPERS

On the plane: Jordan Pickford (Everton).

In the departure lounge: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace) and Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).

Hoping for a late ticket: Jack Butland (Rangers), Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace), Nick Pope (Newcastle) and James Trafford (Burnley).

Pickford has been England’s number one for the last three major tournaments and that will continue in Germany. Ramsdale appeared his closest contender but is now clinging onto a squad spot having been usurped as Arsenal’s number one. Johnstone is the likely number three, especially with Pope injured.

DEFENDERS

On the plane: Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle) and Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

In the departure lounge: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

Hoping for a late ticket: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Eric Dier (Bayern Munich, loan), Rico Lewis (Manchester City), Tino Livramento (Newcastle), Reece James (Chelsea), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan).

Ignoring boarding calls: Ben White (Arsenal).

Maguire, Stones, Walker and Trippier have been to every major tournament under Southgate and are set to be on the plane once more, assuming they are fit.

Guehi missed March’s games with an issue of his own, but Southgate is confident his third-choice centre-back will be fit for the summer. Konsa and Dunk are pushing for the fourth spot. The latter impressed during his first England appearances this week, whereas Dunk’s stock dropped with a costly error in each friendly.

Branthwaite received his first call-up but did not feature, while Gomez and Colwill – who missed this camp through a toe complaint – would offer versatility to a 23-man squad.

James faces a race against time to be involved but left-back is a more pressing issue. Chilwell improved against Belgium after a poor performance against Brazil. Shaw is Southgate’s first choice but is a doubt for the Euros given he is not due to return to fitness until May.

White would likely be going to a third straight tournament had he not snubbed an England call-up this month.

MIDFIELDERS

On the plane: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Ajax), James Maddison (Tottenham) and Declan Rice (Arsenal).

In the departure lounge: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United).

Hoping for a late ticket: Mason Mount (Manchester United) and Kalvin Phillips (West Ham, loan).

Real Madrid star Bellingham and Arsenal man Rice are shoo-ins. Barring injuries and a woeful end to the season, vice-captain Henderson will join them whatever onlookers think of that. Gallagher appears to have also rubberstamped his spot along with Maddison.

Beyond that, though, there is a lot up in the air. Injury denied Southgate the chance to see Alexander-Arnold in midfield against high-level opposition in a month when 18-year-old Mainoo impressively staked his claim, earning the man of the match award on his first start against Belgium.

Phillips, overlooked for this squad after a disastrous start to life on loan at West Ham, is running out of time to earn a recall. Southgate says Mount is an outside bet.

FORWARDS

On the plane: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich) and Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).

In the departure lounge: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle) Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Ivan Toney (Brentford) and Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

Hoping for a late ticket: Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) and Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

In Kane, Saka and Foden, the England boss has three starters, never mind selections. It gets tougher after that due to the competition for spots.

Southgate warned at his squad unveiling that established Rashford and Grealish had a battle on their hands for a place at the Euros – a fight that increased after new boy Gordon impressed and Bowen put in his best performance yet against Belgium. Injury denied Palmer the chance to truly shine this month, but he is another knocking at the door. Chelsea team-mate Sterling looks set for a summer off.

Toney scored a penalty as he won his second cap on Tuesday and may have just edged ahead of Watkins in the race to be Kane’s back-up. Solanke is the next cab off the rank behind those two.

Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland has promised to “keep knocking on the door” after his hopes of an England comeback later this month were quashed.

Butland, who has nine caps to his name but was last called up in 2019, had been tipped for Gareth Southgate’s squad to face Brazil and Belgium.

Established number one Jordan Pickford will be supported by Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone for those games but Butland has not given up all hope of a late bid for this summer’s European Championship.

The 31-year-old, who acted as Pickford’s deputy at the 2018 World Cup, reacted to his omission after the Gers’ narrow Europa League defeat to Benfica.

Asked if he had been contacted about a possible call-up, Butland told TNT Sport: “No, no discussions. But if your name’s being chucked in it’s because you’re doing something right.

“When I found out I wasn’t in the squad, it was back to normal, continue trying to do what I do here. That’s the only reason I’ve been in those discussions in the first place, because I’ve been playing and playing well.

“Could I? Should I? It doesn’t really matter. I’ve worked hard enough, I’ve done enough. Whatever the decision will be, there’s three fantastic goalkeepers going. I’ll just keep knocking on the door and see what happens.”

Mikel Arteta hailed match-winner Kai Havertz as an “exceptional player” after his late header saw Arsenal beat Brentford to move top of the Premier League.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off on Sunday, any victory for Arsenal would have taken them to the summit for the first time in 2024 – they will stay there if that game is drawn.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after returning goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining to secure a 2-1 victory.

Havertz was serenaded by the home fans at full-time as he made it four goals in his last four league games, continuing to bely the criticism of his early-season form following his move from Chelsea.

“I’m so happy,” Arteta said when asked if Havertz had now justified his big-money move.

“If somebody told me after the first two or three months that the whole stadium would be singing his song with that passion, with that feeling, with that chemistry, I would have found it hard to believe.

“That’s what happens to good people. He’s an exceptional player. When he starts to score goals like this and everything starts to flow people feel more connected with him.

“They see his work rate, they see his intelligence, they see how he plays for the team and how he’s contributing. It’s impossible not to love him.”

Rice rose to head home a career-best sixth goal of the season but deep in first-half stoppage time, Ramsdale collected a routine back-pass from Gabriel Maghalaes but dallied in possession and his attempted clearance was blocked into the net by Wissa.

Ramsdale has not played since the return game at Brentford in November after losing the battle for the Arsenal number one spot to David Raya – who is on loan from the Bees and therefore ineligible against his parent club – and this could yet be his final outing for the Gunners.

He recovered to make two smart saves in the second-half and Arteta was pleased his error did not ultimately cost the Gunners.

“I’m really happy especially because he did exactly what he is, which is a person with huge personality and courage, very determined,” he said.

“Errors are part of football. It’s how you react to it, especially for the keepers which is probably the most difficult position. He did so in an amazing way. I’m not surprised because the whole team and the whole stadium was behind him.

“He has earned that respect and admiration. We really wanted to win for him.”

Havertz’s header meant Ramsdale’s blushes were spared – but Brentford boss Thomas Frank felt the Germany forward was lucky to still be on the pitch to score the winner.

Having been booked for an elbow on Kristoffer Ajer, he managed to avoid a second caution despite seemingly diving in an attempt to win a penalty.

“Havertz is a clear, clear dive,” said Frank.

“I wish they would just admit it. I don’t know if he has because that happens all the time, every week someone is doing it. I know it happens.

“That should of course been a second yellow and a red card. And then he wouldn’t be able to score the winner and hopefully maybe we would have gained a little bit more momentum, maybe to win the game.”

Kai Havertz headed home a late winner against Brentford to send Arsenal top of the Premier League and spare the blushes of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off on Sunday, any victory for Arsenal would have been enough to take them to the summit for the first time in 2024.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining to secure a 2-1 victory.

Mikel Arteta has seen his team sweep aside all comers in recent weeks but this was another face to Arsenal, an attritional display that will see them remain as league leaders if Liverpool and City share the spoils at Anfield.

Ramsdale has not played since the return game at Brentford in November after losing the battle for the Arsenal number one spot to David Raya – who is on loan from the Bees and therefore ineligible against his parent club – and this could yet be his final outing for the Gunners.

Ivan Toney, linked with Arsenal throughout January, cleared an inswinging Rice corner off the line early on but unlike recent games away from home Arsenal did not have everything their own way in the opening stages.

They would, however, still break the deadlock as Ben White crossed for Rice to head home like an accomplished Premier League striker as he enjoys the best goalscoring season of his career with six goals.

From that point on, Arsenal looked in control – that was until deep into first-half stoppage time when Ramsdale collected a routine back-pass from Gabriel Magalhaes but dallied in possession and, as he attempted to clear, was closed down by Wissa.

The block could have gone anywhere but looped into the back of Ramsdale’s net to take the teams in level at the break.

Brentford smelled blood and after the interval Toney attempted an audacious effort with Ramsdale off his line – but this time he made a good stop to turn the goal-bound strike behind.

Arsenal were still the more dangerous side and Gabriel almost headed home a Bukayo Saka corner only for Vitaly Janelt to block into the grateful hands of goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

The hosts were getting more and more frustrated with referee Robert Jones as they felt a number of penalty claims went against them, although Havertz was lucky to escape a second booking after seemingly diving inside the box just after the hour.

Brentford were still threatening and Ramsdale was now providing the rearguard protection, brilliantly tipping over a Nathan Collins header as the second half drew on.

The game was opening up into an end-to-end contest as Rice rattled the crossbar with a bending effort from outside the box, with nerves creeping in around the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal, though, manfully stuck to the task at hand and ultimately found a way through as White once again provided the cross, Havertz this time diverting a header past Flekken for his fourth goal in four league games.

Liverpool continue to battle on four fronts after Jakub Kiwior’s own goal and a stoppage-time strike by Luis Diaz sent them through to the FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win at Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were without captain Virgil van Dijk and Mohamad Salah, but after they were able to ride their luck in north London, stand-in skipper Trent Alexander-Arnold’s excellent late cross forced the opener and Diaz was able to wrap up a hard-fought victory with a powerful late finish.

It inflicted a fourth defeat in seven matches on Arsenal, who fired another blank despite creating a plethora of chances at the Emirates to leave manager Mikel Arteta with problems to solve ahead of their short mid-season break.

The two Premier League title rivals – choosing not to wear red in support of Arsenal’s anti-knife crime initiative – played out a 1-1 draw at Anfield a fortnight ago and while both managers picked strong teams, a handful of changes were made with Aaron Ramsdale given the nod.

The Gunners goalkeeper was immediately into the thick of the action but in an attacking sense with a wonderful pass sending Reiss Nelson through on goal although he could only fire into the side-netting after rounding Alisson.

Nelson had been given a rare starting berth with Eddie Nketiah dropped and Gabriel Jesus out with a knee injury, which resulted in Kai Havertz leading the line.

Havertz tested Alisson with an early curled effort before the opener should have arrived in the 11th minute.

Bukayo Saka robbed Joe Gomez of possession and found the unmarked Havertz, who teed up Nelson and while Ibrahima Konate slide in, Martin Odegaard was first to the loose ball but he crashed an effort against the crossbar and Liverpool survived.

Klopp’s side waited until midway through the first half for their opening chance when Darwin Nunez headed wide from a Harvey Elliott corner.

It did not mark a shift in the ascendancy though with Havertz wasting a fine opening before Alisson tipped over a stinging drive from Ben White.

From the resulting corner Saka picked out Havertz at the back post, but the Germany international headed wide from six yards.

Not even treatment for Liverpool’s young defender Jarell Quansah halted Arsenal’s momentum with Havertz again denied by Alisson a minute before half-time.

Arsenal very nearly paid for their first-half profligacy when Cody Gakpo teed up Alexander-Arnold but the stand-in captain struck the crossbar with his superb 16-yard strike to ensure it remained goalless at the break.

Liverpool initially came out with improved intent for the second half and Curtis Jones curled over before Nunez flashed an effort wide.

Normal service soon resumed with Saka only able to hook over from a Havertz cross, before Alisson showed his class on the hour mark. Another Havertz delivery took a deflection off Quansah and looked to be heading in until the Reds goalkeeper brilliantly clawed the ball away, with Saka slicing wide on the follow-up.

Frustration was growing at the Emirates and as Klopp turned to his bench with Diogo Jota and Ryan Gravenberch introduced, Arteta made his first roll of the dice.

Gabriel Martinelli’s entrance injected renewed hope for an agitated home crowd, but Ramsdale was called upon with 13 minutes remaining to push wide a low effort by Diaz.

Jota headed against the bar from Alexander-Arnold’s resulting corner and yet his next delivery produced the breakthrough.

Odegaard fouled Gravenberch close to the byline and Alexander-Arnold’s fine inswinging cross was headed beyond a diving Ramsdale by the unfortunate Kiwior.

Arsenal pushed for a late leveller but Liverpool’s place in round four was confirmed when Diaz smashed home after a slick counter-attack in the fifth minute of added-time.

Mikel Arteta admitted back-to-back defeats have halted Arsenal’s Premier League momentum but warned against putting his side’s rocky run under the microscope.

Arsenal’s title challenge has faltered in recent matches following a home loss to West Ham on December 28 before they suffered another defeat at Fulham three days later.

The Gunners have slipped to fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Liverpool who they host in the third round of the FA Cup at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

“We were not at the level (against Fulham) and we were not good enough,” said Arteta. “I don’t think we deserved to lose but we didn’t do enough to win it.

“It affects momentum that we had. Until Christmas Day we were top of the league and six days later we are fourth.

“You can be very tempted to look at things with a microscope or take the telescope and look a little bit further ahead and treat things with a little bit more perspective.

“And my job, big time, is to look with the telescope, have perspective, analyse things in a broader way and not get affected by one performance; not results, just one performance.”

Arsenal had 30 attempts on goal in their defeat to West Ham – but it was a different story at Craven Cottage as Arteta’s side failed to create chances.

The club continue to be linked with a new striker, although Brentford manager Thomas Frank said only an “unbelievable” offer would force the Bees to sell Ivan Toney during this month’s transfer window.

“We are open to the transfer market,” added Arteta. “But the emphasis is on making the most of the players we have.

“We will work with the club and see if we have any good options but first, our focus is on the players here.”

Put to Arteta that Arsenal might not sign anyone before the window closes, he replied: “That’s a possibility.”

Arteta is likely to rotate his squad for the visit of Liverpool, with defender Oleksandr Zinchenko possibly back in the frame after missing the defeat against Fulham. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is also set to be handed a rare start in place of David Raya.

And Arteta has challenged the Arsenal supporters to create a difficult environment for Jurgen Klopp’s visiting side.

“There is a big history between the FA Cup and the club and we have a big opportunity (against Liverpool) to start again and make a beautiful journey,” said the Gunners boss.

“We are really happy with the atmosphere that we have created at the Emirates Stadium and on Sunday can we make it even more hostile? I think we can.

“We have to be so grateful for what we are achieving in our home ground and Sunday is going to be a big one again.”

What the papers say

Former Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, 33, is keen on joining Newcastle United after first choice Nick Pope suffered a shoulder injury which will keep him out for four months, reports the Daily Telegraph. The Daily Mirror says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, 25, could be another option in January.

Manchester United are eyeing a move for AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, 28, according to The Sun via Foot Mercato. Andre Onana, who replaced de Gea in the summer, has yet to convince as United’s first-choice stopper.

One player who could be staying at Manchester United is Raphael Varane. The Manchester Evening News says the 30-year-old France defender is keen to stay at Old Trafford beyond the January transfer window.

Juventus could make a bid to sign England midfielder Kalvin Phillips on loan from Manchester City in January, reports the Metro. The 28-year-old has also been linked with Newcastle

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jake O’Brien: Everton are looking at Lyon’s Irish defender, 22, according to French outlet Footmercato.

Mathys Tel: Several Premier League teams are keen on Bayern Munich’s 18-year-old striker, reports Bild in Germany.

What the papers say

Aaron Ramsdale will be allowed to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, but not before, according to The Sun via 90min. The England goalkeeper has been forced to play second fiddle at the Emirates to David Raya but the club do not want him to leave on loan in January.

An ankle injury to Rodrigo Bentancur, 26, could keep a couple of other midfielders at Tottenham. The Uruguayan is ruled out until at least February and the Daily Telegraph reports the club could reject moves for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 28, and Oliver Skipp, 23, in his absence.

Premier League clubs are keeping an eye on Mason Greenwood, 22, during his spell in Getafe, according to the Daily Mail via Spanish outlet AM. The Manchester United forward is on loan in Spain after charges against him including attempted rape and assault against him were dropped.

Chelsea have been overtaken in the race to sign Corinthians midfielder Gabriel Moscardo, according to The Standard. Paris St Germain have emerged as the favourites to capture the 18-year-old Brazilian.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Leander Dendoncker: Everton are interested in Aston Villa’s Belgian midfielder, 28, according to Football Insider.

Jakub Kiwior: Injury-hit AC Milan are keen on a January loan move for Arsenal’s Polish defender, 23, according to Italian outlet Calciomercato.

Mikel Arteta defended Aaron Ramsdale after the Arsenal goalkeeper’s error-strewn display in the 1-0 win at Brentford.

Not even Kai Havertz’s late winner, which sent the Gunners to the top of the Premier League for the first time this season, could mask a horror show from Ramsdale.

The 25-year-old was back in the spotlight on his first league appearance since September 3 with David Raya, now seemingly the club’s undisputed number one, still on loan from Brentford and ineligible to face his parent club.

But the England international made a horribly nervous start which almost gifted the Bees an early goal.

Having exchanged passes with Gabriel from a goal kick, Ramsdale suddenly developed a bout of the yips, hesitating with his clearance and allowing Yoane Wissa to pinch the ball away.

Luckily for Ramsdale, Declan Rice had already spotted the danger and got back to clear Bryan Mbeumo’s shot off the line, before Wissa put the rebound wide.

But Ramsdale hid his face under his shirt following another embarrassing error before half-time, somehow letting the ball slip out of his hand.

Instead of throwing it up-field he ended up looking like a fast bowler delivering a bouncer which went straight to Bees midfielder Frank Onyeka. The danger was quickly cleared, but Ramsdale’s confidence was ebbing further down the drain.

However, Arteta insisted: “This is football, I’m so happy with the team, we kept a clean sheet and we move on.

“He has big courage, big personality and that’s why we love him. I enjoy to see the players encouraging each other.”

Nevertheless, the Gunners won it when Bukayo Saka swung in a cross from the right and substitute Havertz ghosted in at the far post to plant his header past Mark Flekken and send them back to the top of the pile.

It was only the German’s second goal since his summer switch from Chelsea.

“That’s the beauty of it, when things come easy you don’t value it,” Arteta added.

“We love him for a reason and the way he behaves in difficult moments. We could not be happier that a big player like him won the game.

“I’m so happy, when you have opportunity to go top and you come to Brentford, an uncomfortable place to come, the team showed so much willingness to compete.”

For the Bees a record of 14 London derbies without defeat came to an end.

“I think we did so many things right, it was a very even game in many ways,” said boss Thomas Frank.

“There were two chances for each team. Unfortunately they took one and we didn’t. The game should have been a draw. I’m pleased with the performance and effort of the players.”

Aaron Ramsdale’s father has criticised Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for not telling his son why he has been dropped in favour of David Raya.

England goalkeeper Ramsdale started in Arsenal’s first four Premier League games, but has been relegated to the bench following Raya’s arrival on loan from Brentford.

Ramsdale’s father, Nick, told The Highbury Corner podcast that his son had “lost his smile” and was finding it difficult after not being given an explanation by Arteta.

Nick Ramsdale said: “Aaron’s lost that smile to when he was holding on to that ball at this moment in time and it is difficult.

“It really is difficult to see him there and we all keep saying ‘you need to keep smiling’.”

He added: “It’s possibly the way it’s been done. Not knowing the reason why, and this is me because we don’t know why. Again, Aaron is working as hard as he can. He’s trying to do his best for the squad. He’s upbeat and he’ll do everything for Arsenal to try and win the league.”

Ramsdale signed a new long-term deal with the Gunners in May, but has played second fiddle since Raya arrived in August on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move.

Nick Ramsdale added: “Aaron is going to be the cup goalkeeper, and David Raya is going to be the main man unless something happens, an injury or a sending-off. Aaron’s got to live with that and he is living with that even though he’s not been told it. By anybody.”

Mikel Arteta has warned Aaron Ramsdale not to rush any decision over his future after England manager Gareth Southgate told the goalkeeper he could not promise him a place at Euro 2024 if he remains on the bench at Arsenal.

Ramsdale has been called up by Southgate for England’s final two qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia and will be aiming to add to his four senior caps.

However, the 25-year-old has been ousted as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper since the arrival of David Raya from Brentford and has played just twice since the September international break.

Speaking after naming his latest squad, Southgate said of Ramsdale’s plight: “I think longer-term, we’re just going to have to see how it is. I had that conversation with him in the last camp.

“He’s still battling to be the number one at Arsenal, and his profile and the way he can use the ball with his feet, we like, we think that’s important.

“But there is a reality as a keeper, if we get to March and he’s six months without playing regularly, then I’m never going to promise things that I couldn’t guarantee delivering.”

Arteta has not spoken to Ramsdale about the issue but warned against a January move in a quest to find first-team football.

“First of all my door is open to speak about any player,” he said.

“We just want the best for our players and we try to do that, and we know the influence that we can have – sometimes positively, sometimes not so positively, towards them.

“We will always try to do our best to help them, but this is a team sport that needs 24 players that have to fulfil a role. And the role that you have in August, it might be very different to the one you have in March.

“So making early decisions, in my experience, is not something good at all and as well because the team has certain needs that has to be accomplished. And in order to do that you cannot do it with six, 10 or 14 players. It is impossible. So you need everyone and Aaron has a really important role in the team.

“I have no messages for any clubs (who may look to sign Ramsdale). I can talk a little bit about my players, how much I like my players, how much I like Aaron and that we want Aaron with us, that’s for sure.”

Ramsdale is likely to once again be among the substitutes as Arsenal host Burnley on Saturday night looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Arteta, though, could be without as many as eight first-team players for the visit of the Clarets as captain Martin Odegaard is “still racing” to be fit, while Bukayo Saka and Takehiro Tomiyasu both came off injured in Wednesday’s Champions League win over Sevilla.

Forwards Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah could miss out with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively, while Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Jurrien Timber are definite absentees.

“Some of the injuries that we had, they are some bad luck, some of them have been long-term injuries with some special players and when we didn’t have a lot of depth,” he added.

“We can talk about the depth, but after you have to talk about the specific positions or certain units where we are a little bit shorter.

“But it is the challenge of the season and other people have to step up, and that as well is a good test for the team – how we take those moments and how we actually respond to that. So far, the team is doing well.”

What the papers say

Aaron Ramsdale has emerged as a transfer target for Chelsea after losing his first-team spot at Arsenal to David Raya. According to The Sun, Bayern Munich are also looking at the 25-year-old England goalkeeper.

Chelsea and Manchester City are both keen on Inter Milan defender Alessandro Bastoni, 24, according to the Daily Mirror via Calciomercato. The Italian giants are likely to want more than £60million for the Italy international.

Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola could reportedly be the first managerial casualty of the Premier League season. The Sun reports he faces talks with the club this week after taking just three points from the opening nine league games.

Manchester United assistant manager Mitchell Van Der Gaag does not appear to be going anywhere, despite interest from Ajax. The Daily Mail reports that the Dutch giants are unlikely to secure a return to the club after manager Maurice Steijn’s departure.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Douglas Luiz: Arsenal remain keen on Aston Villa’s Brazil international midfielder, 25, after having previous approaches turned down, according to 90Min.

Nicolas Gonzalez: Several Premier League clubs are watching the Fiorentina and Argentina winger, 25, writes La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Aaron Ramsdale feels it is “strange” how much attention is being paid to his battle with David Raya to be Arsenal number one – but admits he fears for his England future if he does not win it.

The 25-year-old signed a new contract last season but has found himself on the bench after summer signing Raya broke into the side and has started just once – a Carabao Cup win at Brentford – since mid-September.

Ramsdale picked up his fourth senior England cap in the 3-1 friendly win away to Scotland last month but was an unused substitute in the recent victories over Australia and Italy.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been asked about the goalkeeping situation ad nauseam since Raya was signed, initially on loan, from Brentford and television cameras are now constantly trained on Ramsdale as he sits on the bench during matches.

The former Bournemouth goalkeeper was mocked by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher after applauding a save from his counterpart during the 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

“I think because it’s one of the first times it’s happened with the situation it has been difficult,” admitted Ramsdale.

“There are times where you’re doing the right thing, but it’s the wrong thing and if you don’t do it, it’s the wrong thing. So it’s a double-edged sword.

“There’s a lot of attention and it’s a position which is famously said; ‘if you’re not spoken about means you’ve done a good job’, and there’s a lot of talk at the minute.

“Whether it is me or David who plays we need to be able to just focus and play but at the same time, it’s a strange, big headline…we have to deal with it and that is what we are doing.”

In a recent interview, Raya said the pair were “mates” who had a good relationship, a sentiment echoed by Ramsdale.

“If we didn’t get on it wouldn’t work. We work professionally really well together,” he said.

“There’s days where I come in and I’m down because of the situation and he picks me up and for whatever reason there might be a day where he’s down and even though I’m suffering and hurting for not playing I have to stand up and be able to push him.”

Ramsdale’s father, Nick, posted a social media response to Carragher’s comments, labelling the ex-Liverpool defender a “disgrace”.

“This isn’t the first time my name has been in the press and it has been more negative stuff so I have drowned it out before,” added Ramsdale.

I know there’s a lot of noise but it doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t help that my dad does it – but it was on a golf trip in Spain with 19 other lads from the local pub.

“I wasn’t too mad at him, he didn’t say anything out of turn, it just wasn’t helpful for the situation, he knew that. He obviously just had a few too many on the golf course!”

Ramsdale is all too aware that his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad could come under threat if he remains sidelined at Arsenal.

“For me I need to get back into my club team to keep getting picked (for England) and keep giving the manager a headache because if I’m not, then that’s an easier decision for him,” said Ramsdale.

“It is (a worry), it is the first time I have found myself in this situation. The (England) manager is brilliant, he trusts the players he’s worked with before as we’ve seen in different types of ways.

“You’ll see Kalvin (Phillips) and Harry (Maguire) haven’t played the most minutes but when they step up for England and are given the opportunity, they perform.”

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