AARON RAMSDALE has revealed his unlikely inspiration as a goalkeeper growing up.
The Arsenal star, 24, learned his trade from Bolton legend Jussi Jaaskelainen during five years as a youth there.
The Finnish keeper was a mainstay in the Premier League for years, making over 500 appearances in all competitions for Wanderers before moving to West Ham.
And Ramsdale admits the retired 47-year-old is the stopper he models his game on most.
He revealed: “Jussi was my early inspiration.
“The way I position my hands and my legs are very similar to Jussi — because if you see it in people you look up to, it stays for ever.”
The England keeper is still confident that Arsenal remain in the driving seat for the league title despite surrendering two points at Anfield.
He pulled off a series of sensational late saves to secure a 2-2 draw against Liverpool on Sunday which keeps the Gunners six points clear of Manchester City.
Ramsdale insists no one will be panicking despite opening the door for City to pip them at the post in the race for a first crown since the Invincibles of 2004.
He said: “It’s essential we focus on the positives of Sunday’s result. We’ll look at all the good stuff we did in the first half to get 2-0 up and, though we might have dropped two points, this will definitely feel like a very good result when we’ve digested everything.
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“We went to Anfield and played really well but we also had to dig in to survive.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win but at least my saves have helped us out.”
The result means that City can now overhaul Arsenal on goal difference if they beat them at the Etihad on April 26 and win their game in hand.
But Ramsdale added: “I love the bigger games and fans being there because they help me to concentrate more.
“I try to enjoy every game and I don’t want this season at the top to be a one-off.
“Everyone wants this to be our stepping stone, to go again next season and try to balance playing in Europe with challenging in the Premier League.”
Ramsdale suffered back-to-back Prem relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United before his £24million move to Arsenal in 2021.
At that time, the Gunners finished eighth in the league and his big-money signing was viewed by disillusioned fans as a sign of the decline in the transfer market.
Ramsdale arrived in North London under a barrage of abuse but he is now silencing those that doubted him.
And he believes it is the competitive streak brought in by manager Mikel Arteta which has really helped him improve.
Ramsdale admitted: “I have never been a massive fan of training because there’s nothing on it. If you do make a mistake it just resets and you go again.
“It’s something the manager has done really well. There’s a competitive edge to training. There’ll be things on it like the losing team pays for dinner.
“If I ever complained to my dad about needing motivation he would pretty quickly tell me to remember where I am.
“He would remind me my grandad Ron, who died before I was born, had to choose being a teacher over a pro footballer because of his dad, so I realise how privileged I am.”