Soccer-Arsenal's Raya says Ramsdale must fight for team if he reclaims goalkeeping spot

FILE PHOTO-Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Arsenal - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - August 21, 2023 Arsenal's David Raya during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers/File Photo

(Removes repeated phrase in paragraph 7)

(Reuters) - David Raya said fellow goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale "needs to fight for the team" if he returns to Arsenal after being dropped for two back-to-back games, adding that it was manager Mikel Arteta's decision to have "two top players for each position".

England international Ramsdale, 25, was dropped to the bench in Sunday's 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park as well as their Champions League home game against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday. Arsenal, who returned to Europe's elite club competition in six years, ruthlessly dispatched PSV 4-0.

Arteta earlier played down the significance of his decision to leave out Ramsdale in favour of the 28-year-old Spaniard, who is on loan from Brentford.

Arteta had added that there had been two occasions in the past as Arsenal manager when he had wanted to change a keeper during the game for tactical reasons but had opted against it largely because it was rarely done.

"That's his (Arteta) choice, it's not my choice," Raya said on the Spanish manager's decision to promote him to the starting lineup over Ramsdale. "If Aaron comes back in, he needs to fight for the team and to win games.

"I think it's the first time that two top goalies are on the same team. That's just part of football now."

Arsenal host London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the league on Sunday, followed by a trip to Brentford in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

Raya added that he does not know whether he or Ramsdale will start in the next match.

Arsenal are fourth in the league with 13 points from five matches, same points as third-placed Liverpool and second-placed Spurs, who both have a better goal difference.

(This story has been refiled to remove a repeated phrase in paragraph 7)

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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