A year after goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale faced threats of online insults before his move to Arsenal, he aims for England’s number-one shirt at the World Cup.
The 24-year-old had to win over Gunners supporters after arriving from Sheffield United last summer.
Back-to-back relegations from the Premier League – first with Bournemouth, then the Blades – and an initial transfer fee of £24million prompted an online backlash against Ramsdale, which saw him shut down his comments on social media.
“It was difficult at first,” he admits.
“I’ve had a lot of negativity around the signing, with idiots on the internet saying don’t sign. Not necessarily death threats, but threats that say, “We know where you live” and things like that. Tryin’ to scare me
“I shut down all that stuff pretty quickly. For me, social media is a place to communicate with my friends and also with the fans, but with limitations on who can actually reach me.
“It was safer for me, but also for my family. My mom and dad are obviously on social media. They don’t really know what they’re doing, but it’s pretty easy for them to type “Ramsdale” on Twitter to get to my page and end up on a page that has a lot of negativity and abuse and then they read it and get angry. It made me feel a lot safer.”
Ramsdale’s first few weeks in north London are covered in detail in the latest Amazon series All or Nothing: Arsenal, which launches August 4.
As well as showing his clear desire to win, Ramsdale hopes it will show viewers there is a negative side to the job.
When asked what he hopes the documentary will bring, he replied: “How hard it is to be a footballer.
“One of the best jobs in the world, but also one of the worst. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t my sermon like, ‘Oh, everyone has pity on us’, but the time without family, children and life out of a suitcase, travelling.
“I just hope that through this you will see that we are only human and you will see that we enjoy each other but sometimes suffer together. I think that’s the hardest thing to get out.
“Everyone thinks football is easy, you’re on the pitch for two or three hours and you go home, but it’s just not like that.”
Also, Ramsdale’s parents are interviewed in episode one of the series, both his mother and father are passionate about his career and attend most games.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta even reached out and spoke to Ramsdale’s father, Nick, before stamping his signing.
“I think the first phone call with the boss went very well. He quizzed me about football which was pretty easy for me as I love football,” Ramsdale added.
“He started asking me about family and other things and he personally asked to call my father – it was just one of those things to know that the manager wants to find out about your family and it didn’t work about him telling my father, ‘this is the best place for him’ and trying to get me to sign.
“It was really just finding out who I am as a person, what the family is like and you can just feel the culture that he created at the club.
“I don’t want my dad trying to sugarcoat anything or build me and the family up, we are who we are. We are a family from Stoke and we were fortunate to be on a journey through my career together.”
Ramsdale’s family were also present for his debut for England in a 10-0 World Cup qualifier win in San Marino in November.
He was part of Gareth Southgate’s squad to reach the Euro 2020 final without making an appearance and was then forced to sit out March’s international break earlier this year through injury.
After starting in two of four English Nations League games at the end of last season, including a 4-0 loss to Hungary, Ramsdale has a chance to keep the gloves for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
“I’m in and around it at the moment,” he said.
“But things can change very quickly, especially this season there will be Jordan (Pickford), myself, Sam Johnstone, Dean Henderson, Nick Pope and probably some others.
“Probably five or six England goalkeepers will try to get on the plane so I’ll have to hold on there even though I’m close at the moment.
“Off the pitch he (Southgate) is very similar to Mikel, I think that was one of the main reasons for Gareth coming into the national team – to be together, to be one and there are definitely similarities between them off the pitch.
“I think with the way social media and mental health is going, it’s great to see these types of managers coming in now and it’s changing the game for the better.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/aaron-ramsdale-england-arsenal-social-media-sheffield-united-b2136862.html Aaron Ramsdale is looking to become England’s number one after winning over Arsenal fans