Mikel Arteta is adamant he had a ‘clear conversation’ with Bernd Leno before dropping him for Aaron Ramsdale.
The German international has fallen behind Ramsdale in the pecking order at Arsenal, with the former Sheffield United keeper having started the last three Premier League games for the Gunners.
Speaking to the German media after the win against Spurs last weekend, Leno claimed he had been given no clear reason by Arteta as to why he had been dropped. But Arteta insists he has been open with the 29-year-old.
What did Arteta say?
Responding to Leno’s comments, the Arsenal boss revealed he had spoken with his former No.1 two days before the Norwich game last month and explained why Ramsdale would be starting against the Canaries.
“I had a very clear conversation with him 48 hours before I was going to make the decision,” Arteta said.
“Obviously any conversation I have with him is completely private and I'm not going to speak with any media about it.”
What had Leno said?
Leno gave an interview to Sport Bild after Arsenal’s victory in the north London derby last weekend, claiming: "There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance.
“He is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it's difficult for me.
“'Only if nothing changes in my situation by winter would I have to think about things: what option do I have, how can I continue? I’m concentrating on my work in training; I can't commit to anything else at the moment.”
Arteta’s message to Leno
Leno is expected to be on the bench once again on Saturday when Arsenal look to make it four league wins in a row against Brighton at Amex Stadium.
Ahead of that game, Arteta has told Leno to keep working as he always does, despite having fallen down the pecking order.
“The same that he's done every single day,” Arteta said, when asked what he expects to see from Leno.
“Train the way he does, be the way he is, the person he is, the way he handles himself, and try to help the other keepers and the other keepers try to help him.”