England’s Ramsdale pinches itself after advancing to the World Cup stage



DOHA: England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is pressing himself on after making his rags-to-riches rise from lower-league obscurity to the World Cup. Just three years ago, Ramsdale was an unknown youngster for whom a place in the World Cup would have seemed an impossible dream after being sent off by a club. His father, Sheffield United, is on loan to AFC Wimbledon.

The 24-year-old has been thriving now with Premier League leaders Arsenal and has already spent time on loan in 2018 with Chesterfield, who were relegated from the Fourth Division during his time there.

Even when Ramsdale finally reached the Premier League with Bournemouth and then Sheffield United, he suffered back-to-back relegation with those clubs.

But the unflattering, turbulent start to Ramsdale’s career served as a valuable learning curve, giving him time to hone his craft from the spotlight.

Now he is reaping the rewards after impressing with Arsenal during their unexpected rise to the top of the Premier League this season.

While Jordan Pickford is expected to be England’s number one when Garth Southgate’s side start their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday, Ramsdale has made his way into the conversation.

The goalkeeper is down to earth enough to know the odds he took to get to Qatar.

“There are times when it’s a tight moment when I’m talking to my father or my wife, especially after the first few years of my career in difficult situations,” Ramsdale said at England’s training base in Qatar on Friday.

“I’ve learned a lot in terms of the different experiences. I’m now learning the side of the game being at the top of the table, being in Europe, being in the England squad.

“But those difficult moments when some people have a different view, I was able to see it from the other side.”

Ramsdale’s path to Qatar came after he spotted a fan during England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

“There were definitely a few tears shed by my dad when I was named to the team,” he said. “If I really succeed on the field, he might not come home. He might have a heart attack.

“It is special for the family and especially my parents who have pushed me up and down the country and around the world. He will have no nails left.”

Ramsdale and fellow England goalkeeper Nick Pope kept the pressure on Everton star Pickford in training.

“I see it as it is,” Ramsdal said. “You need three goalkeepers to train properly to have a number one at its best.

“Whoever gets that first game will have our full support. You never know with championship football. You always have to be ready to be called.”


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