Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale reveals the Premier League legend was his unlikely inspiration growing up as a goalkeeper
AARON RAMSDALE has revealed his unlikely inspiration as a goalkeeper growing up.
The 24-year-old Arsenal star learned his trade from Bolton legend Jussi Jaaskelainen for five years as a youngster.
The Finnish goalkeeper was a Premier League mainstay for years, making over 500 appearances in all competitions for Wanderers before joining West Ham.
And Ramsdale, who spent time at Bolton as a youngster, admits the retired 47-year-old is the stopper he most orients his game towards.
He revealed: “Jussi was my early inspiration.
“The way I position my hands and my legs is very similar to Jussi – because when you see it in people you look up to, it stays forever.”
The England goalkeeper is still confident Arsenal remain in the driving seat for the league title despite giving up two points at Anfield.
He made a series of sensational late saves to earn a 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, putting the Gunners six points clear of Manchester City.
Ramsdale insists no one will panic despite City opening the door to putting them ahead in the race for a first crown since 2004’s Invincibles.
He said: “It’s important that we focus on the positives from Sunday’s result. We’ll look at all the good things we did in the first half to go 2-0 up and although we may have lost two points it will definitely feel like a very good result if we do have digested everything.
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“We went to Anfield and played really well, but we also had to adapt to survive.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but at least my saves helped me.”
The result means City can now overtake Arsenal on goal difference if they beat them at the Etihad on April 26 and win their game in hand.
But Ramsdale added: “I love the bigger games and the presence of fans because they help me focus better.
“I try to enjoy every game and I don’t want this season to be a one-off at the top.
“Everyone wants this to be our stepping stone to go back there next season and try to balance the game in Europe with the challenge of the Premier League.”
Ramsdale endured back-to-back Prem relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United before joining Arsenal for £24million in 2021.
At the time, the Gunners were eighth in the league and his commitment to big money was seen by disaffected fans as a sign of the decline of the transfer market.
Ramsdale arrived in north London amid a barrage of verbal abuse, but he is now silencing those who doubted him.
And he believes it’s the competitive series brought in by manager Mikel Arteta that has really helped him improve.
Ramsdale admitted: “I’ve never been a big fan of training because there’s nothing to it. If you make a mistake it just resets and you go again.
“That’s something the manager did really well. Training has a competitive advantage. There will be things on how the losing team pays for dinner.
“If I ever complained to my dad about needing motivation, he was pretty quick to tell me to remember where I am.
“He reminded me that my grandfather Ron, who died before I was born, had to choose to be a teacher instead of a footballer because of his father, so I realize how privileged I am.”