Thursday, October 21, 2021

Bernd Leno: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says goalkeeper has been given no assurances about north London derby

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he has not given goalkeeper Bernd Leno any assurances about returning to the side for the upcoming north London derby.

Aaron Ramsdale, the £30m summer signing from Sheffield United, replaced Leno in the starting line-up on Saturday as the Gunners claimed a 1-0 win over Norwich at the Emirates.

Reports in Germany claim Leno has been promised a return to the side for the north London derby against Tottenham on September 26, live on Sky Sports.

However, Arteta insists he hasn’t made any promises to the German goalkeeper about the upcoming derby, or Saturday’s trip to Burnley.

Responding to the reports, Arteta said: “I don’t know where they are coming from but they are ahead of me!

“I am the one that picks the team at the weekend and sometimes I read things that I haven’t decided yet. They give me ideas, at most, but I haven’t made a decision for Saturday or the north London derby.”

When asked if he had given Leno any other guarantees about his playing time, Arteta added: “No. That’s what I said to them and I said to the goalkeepers in the last two or three years – that we don’t want to do that.

“What we want to do is empower performance and ask them to train behave and play the best possible way. How can I guarantee somebody something?

“It wouldn’t make sense with what we are demanding them to do. So it is on a daily basis, what you did three months ago in football, it doesn’t count.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Mikel Arteta is ‘very happy’ Arsenal are ‘out of the blocks’ with their first Premier League win of the season and says there is a fine balance between a consistent team selection and individual player performances.

“So is what you’re going to do today and tomorrow, and that’s it.”

Arteta has hit back at suggestions Leno reacted badly to being dropped against Norwich and insists the German has acted professionally since the match.

“Obviously for Bernd it wasn’t a pleasing communication when I told him he wasn’t playing but he is a top professional and a top person,” Arteta added.

“He should be disappointed and he should support his team-mates like they’ve done every time he’s played, which is exactly what he’s done.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win over Noriwch in the Premier League.

Arteta also confirmed Thomas Partey is likely to be fit to start against Burnley, having come off the bench in the win over Norwich.

The Ghana international missed the start of the season with an ankle injury but is looking sharp – timely given the injury to Mohamed Elneny and suspension of Granit Xhaka.

One midfielder who will not be lining up for Arsenal any time soon is former Gunner Jack Wilshere.

The 29-year-old is currently a free agent and Arteta, who played alongside Wilshere in the Arsenal midfield, said last week the door was always open for the former England international to train with the club.

He was asked again about any developments with his offer but stopped short of saying Wilshere could be signed by Arsenal.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard says the club want to be competing to win the Premier League title ‘within a couple of years’

“We are in conversations with Jack to understand what he needs, what he is looking for,” he said.

“It’s a person and a player who has a huge admiration around everybody, not just the players or fans but all the staff around here, and we are willing to help him as much as we possibly can. He knows that and that’s the situation.”

Pushed on whether Wilshere could play for Arsenal again, Arteta replied: “I wouldn’t take it that far.

“What I’m saying is that we are in conversations with him to understand what he needs and how we can help him and that’s it.”
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