Wednesday, February 21

Ramsdale opens up on Saka gesture and Arsenal initiation every player faces

Aaron Ramsdale is one of the many new faces that arrived at the Emirates at the start of the season as Arsenal shelled out almost £150million to facilitate Mikl Arteta’s rebuild

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Aaron Ramsdale has opened up on the Arsenal initiation he faced after he joined the club in the summer as he revealed Bukayo Saka instantly made him feel welcome in north London.

The England keeper is one of the many new faces that arrived at the Emirates at the start of the season as the Gunners shelled out almost £150million to facilitate Mikl Arteta’s rebuild. Ramsdale has been a standout performer for Arsenal and was able to take the number one jersey off Bernd Leno – who is set to leave the club in the upcoming window.

Ramsdale is destined to be on the plane to Qatar at the end of the year and is set to fight Jordan Pickford for his starting position in Gareth Southgate’s side. And the goalie has been quick to praise his Arsenal teammates for helping him settle at the club so quickly.

Saka, who Ramsdale already knew from the international scene, was a huge reason for that as he gave him a warm welcome during his first training session. He also revealed that he had to do an initiation after joining as he stood up in front of his new squad to do the renowned song from the TV show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’

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He told McDonald’s Fun Football: “With the Arsenal lads in the England squad, it helped me settle in quickly. Similarly, that also helped the other lads when they came on to the England side like when Emile Smith-Rowe made his debut. We look out for each other.

“It’s quite natural for all of us off the pitch and we really get on. Bakuyo Saka was the first person to greet me when I came to Arsenal so having him in the squad was a great help.

“One of the big differences was at Arsenal. All new members have to get up in front of the squad and sing, and I went for the Fresh Prince rap. There are a lot of languages in the dressing room so I went with something everyone would know as I don’t think my 70s & 80s music would’ve gone down too well.”

Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale



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Ramsdale added: “Signing for Arsenal was an easy decision looking at the size of the club and the manager that they have. Seeing friendly faces that I’ve played with and known for a long time always helps in any walk of life.

“I felt included straight away and I didn’t have to shy away in the corner waiting for someone to talk to me. It allowed me to be myself and settle in quickly and it is one of the reasons why I have managed to make an impact this season.”

Asked what his goals are for the rest of the season, Ramsdale said: “As a team, we want to finish as high up the table as we can. We’ve put ourselves in a great place and as a group we are improving with every game. Right now it’s about staying in the hunt so in the final few weeks of the season it is in our hands.

“Personally, I’ve been working hard to get fully fit again. Hopefully, I can help the team achieve our goal for the season and keep a few more clean sheets on the way. Ultimately if I can carry good form into next season hopefully I can be on that plane to Qatar.”

To give your child their grassroots debut and for the latest information about McDonald’s Fun Football sessions which provide free football for children aged 5-11, visit and follow @FunFootballUK on Twitter and Instagram.

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