David Raya insists he always backed himself to become Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper – but admits he does not know if he will start Sunday’s north London derby.
The Spain international joined the Gunners on loan from Brentford this summer in a switch which, in all likelihood, will be made permanent for £27million next year.
Raya was signed to compete with Aaron Ramsdale for the gloves and made his Arsenal debut in last weekend’s 1-0 win at Everton, retaining his place in the team for Wednesday’s 4-0 Champions League victory over PSV Eindhoven.
Arsenal’s decision to recruit the 28-year-old to battle it out with Ramsdale drew criticism and caution from some pundits but manager Mikel Arteta believes he can keep both happy.
Asked if he had to believe he could oust Ramsdale after the England goalkeeper’s strong showings last season, Raya replied: “Of course, it is something every player has to do – to back yourself to get in the team and that is why I moved to Arsenal and try to do my best for the team when I’m selected.
“You never know when you’re going to play and that is the hardest thing to do. Making your debut for a club like Arsenal, and obviously having Aaron as a team-mate makes it a bit harder for you, but it came quick but you never know when it is going to be and you have to be ready.
“It is a dream come true to play at the highest level so I’m very pleased to make my debut, but the main thing was the result and we got the three points in the end, so that is the main thing.”
Raya will be widely expected to keep his place between the posts for Sunday’s Premier League clash at home to Tottenham, even with Arteta claiming he has considered swapping his goalkeepers during matches let alone rotating between fixtures.
“I understand that and I think it is the first time that two top goalkeepers are in the same team,” Raya said of the possibility of the goalkeepers being switched.
“That is just part of football now and the gaffer wants two top players for each position and that is what we have to work with. I have played the last two games and now we see what happens on Sunday.
“I’ve just been selected the last two games, that is just the choice of the gaffer – that is his choice, not my choice and when Aaron comes in he will need to also fight for the team and to win games.
“He (Ramsdale) has been great, he is a great team-mate, a leader as well. He is a great lad and a great keeper as well, we are team-mates and that is the main thing. We are team-mates at the end of the day.”