Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has revealed that losing his starting spot in the teamsheet to Aaron Ramsdale was a setback and a bitter moment in his career although he insisted that he will keep on working to improve the situation. The German’s current deal expires at the end of next season.
Bernd Leno joined Arsenal on a five-year contract for a reported fee of £22.5 million in the summer of 2018 and the German goalkeeper went on to cement his starting spot, usurping Petr Cech as the club's number one. So much so, that since his arrival as he has made 125 appearances while keeping 37 clean sheets across all competitions.
But Arsenal bolstered their goalkeeping options at the start of the 2021/22 season as they recruited Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale for a fee of £24 million. The 30-year-old began the current campaign as the first-choice option for the Gunners but was soon replaced as the preferred candidate following a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in August.
Leno has only made one top-flight appearance since then with the German goalkeeper featuring for the London club in March although he has played in cup competitions. But in light of that, the German revealed that the decision to replace him as the first-choice was a bitter setback at first although he acknowledged that he has kept his focus on improving his game.
“It was a setback and a bitter moment. But that's sport, you have to accept that. It wasn't easy, but I couldn't feel sorry for myself, I wanted to attack again immediately. The coach wanted to set a new impulse - and then the results came. That was bitter for me, because I had held up well before that I had never experienced anything like that in my career before. But I looked ahead,” Leno told GOAL.
“My ambition is to always play, I know what I can do. I'm not 20 anymore, where I could say: 'I still have time'. I had always played well in the years before and was hardly ever injured. That hits you hard. But as I said, there's no reason to feel sorry for yourself. You have to look ahead and keep working on yourself. That's what I did,” he added.