Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has a "funny ritual", according to David James

Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal kisses the badge in front of Tottenham Hotspur fans after the team's victory during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15, 2023 in London, England.
(Image credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is enjoying another solid season between the sticks for the Gunners – and David James thinks he knows why.

Legendary England keeper James is fifth on the charts for all-time Premier League appearances, having kept 169 clean sheets in 572 top-level matches. The iconic shot-stopper had his own rituals, claiming that he wouldn't drink during a game unless his side had scored – so he recognises the signs.

With the Gunners top of the league and five points clear of Manchester City, whatever Ramsdale is doing is clearly working. 

Arsenal players celebrate after Gabriel Martinelli scored the team's second goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on March 12, 2023 in London, United Kingdom.

Arsenal are riding high in the Premier League – with Aaron Ramsdale in good form (Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

"I have started to notice some of the more unusual rituals from goalkeepers," James explained to Lord Ping (opens in new tab). "You get into these weird patterns where you think every action you complete will have a consequence. 

"One of the funniest things I’ve seen this season is from Aaron Ramsdale. Ramsdale touches the crossbar until the match kicks off. I thought I noticed it last season, and he confirmed it for me when I saw Arsenal play recently.

"He always holds the bar until the game starts. I was at The Emirates recently, the players took the knee before the game and I watched him jump down from the bar, hop onto his knee and then jump straight back onto the bar until the kick-off was taken.

"He must do it for his own reasons, and Arsenal are top of the league, but players’ have a tendency to repeat whatever is working before a game, so you can’t argue with it."

David James

David James had his own rituals in his career – which spanned 26 years (Image credit: PA)

In 27 matches this season, Ramsdale has conceded a total of 25 goals, keeping 12 clean sheets. 

Arsenal take on Sporting in the Europa League tonight.

More Arsenal stories

The rumour mill is going into overdrive with Arsenal leading the way in the race to sign Declan Rice. One source claims a contract has been agreed with the midfielder, though Manchester City are interested, too. West Ham apparently have a successor lined up.

In other rumours, Raheem Sterling is being targeted, with a centre-forward on the wishlist, according to reports. A bid for Raphinha has been revealed while Rasmus Holjund of Atalanta is on the radar, too. January target Ivan Fresneda is still wanted by the Gunners, as well. 

Meanwhile, Chelsea star Mykhaylo Mudryk – who turned down Arsenal in the winter window – has addressed his supposed unhappiness at Stamford Bridge

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.