By Joshua Jones
AARON RAMSDALE wants to face a red-hot Cristiano Ronaldo when Arsenal travel to Manchester United next week.
The Gunners head to Old Trafford on Thursday in what looks set to be Ralf Rangnick’s first game as interim boss.
Ronaldo, 36, has scored just one Premier League goal in his last SEVEN appearances, dating back to September.
But with his heroics for United in the Champions League, he is now just one strike shy of 800 career goals.
Even so, Ramsdale insists he would prefer a ‘full-on battle’ with the Portuguese superstar than a quiet night between the sticks.
The Arsenal goalkeeper said: “I’d never thought I’d play against Ronaldo, but I really hope he’s on it against us because it gives me a chance to test myself.
And Ramsdale has every reason to be confident. He has produced the goods since his £30million switch from Sheffield United in the summer, dislodging Bernd Leno out of the team.
His save to somehow deny James Maddison’s free-kick in the win at Leicester was world class and he is quickly becoming a fan favourite in North London.
The ex-Bournemouth man has racked up 30 saves in the Premier League while only title-challengers Edouard Mendy, Alisson and Ederson can better his tally of five clean sheets.
That all led to Gareth Southgate handing him his senior England debut in the 10-0 thrashing of San Marino.
Speaking during a gaming event at Amazon’s Black Friday Live, Ramsdale added: “It was very special just to be given the opportunity in a qualifier.
“It wasn’t a friendly, although the opposition was as people would say ‘easier’ but you can only play what’s in front of you.
Before facing the likes of Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford hoping to impress the new manager, Ramsdale will want another shut-out when Eddie Howe’s Newcastle visit the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime.
And he is sure the Gunners can bounce back from defeat at Liverpool – thanks to their young manager and even younger star players.
Ramsdale said: “You look at some of players over the past few weeks who have been quite pivotal like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka. They are sort of kids.
“I think because Mikel’s come out of the game fairly recently, he’s got great management skills. He’s very approachable and has worked with arguably one of the best coaches in the world.”
Aaron attended Amazon’s Black Friday Live, taking part in the Deliveroo Gaming Battle against music producer, Nathan Dawe, and hosted by Michael ‘Timbsy’ Timbs. To watch again, go to www.amazon.co.uk/blackfridaylive.