Stack backs Ramsdale

Ramsdale

Updated: 29/02/2024

Graham Stack backs Ramsdale to displace Pickford as England No.1 imminently, Arsenal to win the Premier League and questions if Haaland has actually been detrimental to City

“I've always said Gareth Southgate will be loyal to those who have performed well when they've played for England, and in fairness to Jordan Pickford he's always played well despite his club's position in the league, but for me it's only a matter of time before Ramsdale takes over.”

“[On Ramsdale]… if he continues to play the way he is, will be England's No.1 in the near future.”

“I think Arteta has created this animal within the group, almost like a besieged mentality at times, and I genuinely believe come the end of the season they'll win the league.”

“What Haaland has done in the space of time he's been in the country has been quite incredible. Although in a way it's been quite detrimental to the way City have played in terms of the way they have played previously with a false nine, so it's changed the dynamics of the team a little bit for City…”

Someone like Declan Rice would obviously improve the [Arsenal] squad in my opinion.”

‘Graham Stack exclusively told Ladbrokes Fanzone'

Pickford should be worried about Ramsdale

Aaron Ramsdale just keeps impressing me; when he was signed initially, I looked at his age and he's been relegated a number of times with a number of clubs but he'd also been club player of the year and that goes a long way when you've achieved that in a relegated side. It shows that you've certainly got something about you.

I love his character and personality; I love his desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net and you can see the chemistry he has with his back four. He makes world class saves when called upon and his distribution, for me, is the best in the league. He's been consistent this season with the second most clean sheets in the league, behind Nick Pope, so for me he's been exceptional this year.

What has he got to do to get in the England team? I've always said Gareth Southgate will be loyal to those who have performed well when they've played for England, and in fairness to Jordan Pickford he's always played well despite his club's position in the league, but for me it's only a matter of time before Ramsdale takes over.

The reason I say Ramsdale ahead of Pope is purely because of his ability to play and build from the back, starting counters, because he's such a great distributor. Whereas I think that's where Pope falls down and Ramsdale definitely has the advantage.

It's only a matter of time before changes are made with England and I think Ramsdale, if he continues to play the way he is, will be England's No.1 in the near future.

Arsenal have been impressive this season and they will win the title

I've been really impressed by Arsenal's resilience this season. I did question if they would have enough belief to get over the line, but they've been so persistent and showed what a great spirit they've got.

You saw the reaction of players, supporters and the staff that the result against Leicester got, I think it was a big turning point and it was evidence that when things have gone against them, and people maybe started to question and doubt if they had the ability and the quality and self-belief to turn things round, to go to Leicester – which is never an easy place to visit – and keep a clean sheet and come away with three points is a massive, massive statement.

If you look at the two games you've got coming up, Everton at home then Bournemouth at the weekend, I really can't see anything other than Arsenal turning the screw and coming out with six points.

It's a good time to play Everton in terms of the pressure on them. Dyche came in and obviously got a result with the first game, but that happens a lot with a new manager, but over time the quality of the team will show. I'd be confident Arsenal win midweek and will take that through to the weekend against Bournemouth.

I really do see Arsenal ending the season in the same league position as they are now. They keep proving people wrong, they've shown resilience, they're organised, and they've shown the mentality in games where they can score, not at will, but they keep knocking the door down because they are creating so many chances.

Saka has been outstanding, as have Martinelli and Trossard, and they are now starting to look like a team that is starting to scare a few. They're not pushovers, they are competing physically, and I think Arteta has created this animal within the group, almost like a besieged mentality at times, and I genuinely believe come the end of the season they'll win the league.

The current Arsenal squad is wonderful, but someone like Declan Rice would definitely improve it

In terms of recruitment, what they've done, is all about having a balance of youth coming through the system, signings who add that experience and then winners in the likes of Zinchenko and Jesus. They've really put a wonderful squad together with a great balance, I think they've gelled really well.

Ødegaard is such a joy to watch, he is so intelligent, he's creative and picks up great positions to play the pass, looks to penetrate forward as much as he can. He has been standout, chipping in with goals and led the team brilliantly so he's been a massive, massive player for Arsenal this season.

Edu has played a major, major part in this since he's been at the club in terms of the type of player and the type of person he's recruited. When you're making these big signings, it's about making sure they're able to fit into the way the manager wants to play but also that they're part of a team and they're not just individuals. You can see their chemistry on the pitch.

Someone like Declan Rice would obviously improve the squad, with his age, experience, and his unquestionable ability he would definitely help the side. In my opinion, I would still like to see them recruit, what I would call, a prolific No.9. Obviously Jesus has been out injured, he's a goalscorer but I wonder if he's a 20-25 man a season goalscorer?

Arsenal have done really well this season at sharing the goals so it's been a collective effort going forward, so I definitely think that's an area they can improve with a prolific No.9.

It's really important that someone like Folarin Balogun, who is on the periphery of the first team, goes away and gets some minutes and games under their belt, but clearly at a level where it's very competitive so that when they do come back they are game ready. All he can do is go away and score goals and that's exactly what he's done.

When he comes back in August it'll almost be like having a new player. He's certainly going to add quality to the squad when he comes back. He's going to need an opportunity though, and they're big boots to fill to start every week but only time will tell. We've seen already with this Arsenal team that opportunities are available, and when they happen some of the players have taken them.

Despite the goals, Haaland has possibly been detrimental to the way City play

What Haaland has done in the space of time he's been in the country has been quite incredible. Although in a way it's been quite detrimental to the way City have played in terms of the way they have played previously with a false nine, so it's changed the dynamics of the team a little bit for City but it certainly hasn't stopped him from scoring goals and his record speaks for itself. They score three but concede two.

City will continue to score goals, there's no two ways about that, but I think it's actually come as a bit of a surprise to people that Arsenal have come to the fore earlier than expected. I don't think that people thought it would be this season and that it might be further down the line, it's surprised me how quickly this has all happened and how well the players have gelled.

City will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season; they are blessed with so many talented and so many experienced players, so it's by no means over, far from it.

Only Saka and Ramsdale would get near the Invincibles squad

It's hard to compare generations and it's probably a little bit unfair to do so, but if you had the likes of Saka in and around the Invincibles, or Ramsdale, then there would certainly be some players that would potentially play key roles within that team.

It was such an unbelievable team back then, the camaraderie and spirit was just perfect. There were players in that team who had played a number of games, like Ray Parlour, he had played a lot of games that season, and he was instrumental. There was Freddie, Gilberto, Edu and Kolo Toure – just unbelievable.

Looking back now there probably were some players who didn't have the most flair or who were the most creative players, but in terms of what they did and their job and their role for the team it was just the perfect fit.

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