By Noel Whelan

16th Sep, 2022 | 10:00am

Pundit suggests Aaron Ramsdale will be 'huge loss' after Arsenal latest

Noel Whelan has insisted keeping Aaron Ramsdale fit will be “crucial” to Arsenal maintaining their title challenge this season.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Gunners rearguard “relies” on the 24-year-old to “organise and dictate play”.

Ramsdale suffered an injury during last month’s match against Aston Villa (31 August) and was a doubt for the 3-1 loss against Man United later that week (4 September).

Manager Mikel Arteta revealed the England international was being “assessed” ahead of the Old Trafford clash – in which he ended up playing 90 minutes.

Ramsdale could start in goal for the Three Lions during matches against Italy and Germany this month after an injury to first-choice shot-stopper Jordan Pickford.

Whelan told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “If you’ve not got someone like Ramsdale in goal, it can mess around with your whole defensive dimension.

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“When you’re used to having a goalkeeper in front of you, organising and dictating the play with his feet, you rely on those qualities – as well as his abilities between the sticks.

“Defenders rely on goalkeepers like him to keep them focused, to keep them picking up men – he’d be a huge loss.

“It’d be like losing Gabriel Jesus up front – it’s a huge loss. He’s part of that spine of the side that Arsenal need to keep that continuity after a good start to the season.

“Arsenal will be hoping he can stay fit after that injury scare because he’s crucial for them.”

Arsenal sold backup goalkeeper Bernd Leno to Fulham this summer, leaving USA international Matt Turner as number two.

The Gunners sit top of the Premier League after six games.

In other news, Arsenal idol makes “incredible” Gabriel Jesus claim after “surprising” development.