AFC Wimbledon loanee wants to follow Manchester United goalkeeper’s career path

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

AFC Wimbledon new boy Aaron Ramsdale has revealed he is trying to take the same kind of career route as Manchester United’s Dean Henderson.

Keeper Ramsdale, 20, joined the Dons at the start of the January transfer window on a loan deal from AFC Bournemouth.

And he reckons that Henderson – who has stepped up in quality with each temporary switch – is showing how it should be done.

“People like Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland have been on the same kind of thing I am going through now,” said Ramsdale, who spent the end of last season on loan at Chesterfield.

“Dean is a year older than  me, but he went to League Two at the same age as me, then a lower League One team and he is in the Championship [with Sheffield United] now.

“Hopefully, if I go out on loan next season, it will be to the Championship. There are a lot of positives to take out of his climb.”

Ramsdale broke his thumb in pre-season and that ruled him out of leaving the Cherries  before the August cut-off for deals.

“Until the injury happened for me, I was in a win-win situation,” he explained. “I was either going to be pushing to be on the bench for Bournemouth or a loan.

If you do get on the bench, then you are one step away from playing in the Premier League.

“We were doing a crossing session and there was one I had to tip up over the crossbar. I had my thumb too high and hit the crossbar. It was a bit of a freak accident.

“At the time it was very disheartening. I was in a cast for six weeks and then in a splint for two more.

“By the time I got back into a regime of strengthening-work, I had been out for just under three months.

Aaron Ramsdale
“The key thing was trying to stop it getting damaged again and reducing the risk of arthritis in the thumb in future life.

I could have probably been back in six weeks or two months, but it would have given me more problems in the long run.”

Staffordshire-born Ramsdale was on the books of Bolton Wanderers as a youngster.

He is best friends with Jussi Jaaskelainen’s son William and used the Finnish stopper’s house as his digs. But he was released for being too small  at 15, when he was 5ft 7in.

He feels he was hard done by because he had not finished growing and did not factor that in.

“I went on trial to Rotherham and Leicester and they said I was too small – that I didn’t fill my shirt enough.

They didn’t want to take a risk if they had already got a 6ft 2in goalkeeper. I found myself at Sheffield United and by the time I was 16 and had become a first-year scholar, I was 6ft 1 – my growth had started. I’m 6ft 3 now.”

Ramsdale was signed for an undisclosed fee by the Cherries in January 2017. He has worked with experienced goalkeepers in the shape of Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc.

“They are very different in their style,” said Ramsdale. “Asmir is a very steady goalkeeper who has got great decision-making. He’s an all-round top guy. Artur is a little more ‘out there’.

He tends to be a little riskier. Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t. You can try to find the middle ground.”

Ramsdale – capped 23 times at youth level by England – had no qualms about moving down south. He said: “I’m not someone who needs to be mothered. I like being around family but it’s not like I am a home bird – I like being away.”

One of Ramsdale’s targets while with the Dons is to nail down a spot in the England U21 squad for this summer’s European Championships.

“That is not necessarily to be starting,” he said. “I’m one of the young ones. I’m aiming to just get in the squad for the experience for the next one – I’ll still be eligible – and then I want to be holding down the number one spot.”

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