This article forms part of our ‘In Focus’ series, where we will look at what we hope to see from the different players in the Sheffield United squad during the 20/21 season.
Following on from looking at our club-record buy in Sander Berge, our attention turns to our biggest buy of this summer, Aaron Ramsdale. The Blades have shelled out around £18m (or much less depending what you read) to bring back Ramsdale, a player who has worked under Chris Wilder briefly before and knows Bramall Lane well from his time here as a youngster.
(Photo by Visionhaus)
No player comes into the Sheffield United XI with more pressure on their shoulders than Ramsdale. And for once, it’s not because of the fee we have paid for him. As everyone knows, it’s because he is tasked with the job of trying to replace, replicate, and even go beyond the displays from a certain Dean Henderson.
Henderson was simply brilliant in his two seasons at The Lane. Golden Glove winner in the Championship and right up there last season, he’s now back with Man United and ready to challenge David De Gea.
Back in Sheffield, though, the focus has to be on Ramsdale. Chris Wilder has made a point in his press conferences of trying to draw a line under the Henderson situation and has, rightly, sung the praises of ‘Rambo’.
(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Despite Bournemouth’s relegation last term, Ramsdale stood out. While his save percentage was lower than Henderson’s at 66.1%, Ramsdale did face a whopping 59 more shots than the United stopper. Of those, he made 125 saves. Only Martin Dubravka and Tim Krul made more through the season. (Stats via NBC)
2020/21 hopes and expectations
There are different ways to interpret stats and ways of looking at things in a different perspective. Stats are important but on a basic level like those above, they can’t be the be-all and end-all.
Naturally, this season should see Ramsdale behind a better defence. With less shots to face it will more be a test of his concentration levels and coming up trumps in big moments. Again, Henderson became a master at this.
(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
It is, however, unfair of us as fans to sit and wait for that first moment of ‘Dean Henderson would have saved that’.
We can’t be doing that and given Ramsdale is a young goalkeeper, he will make mistakes. Although, he did only make just one mistake leading to a goal last season, which is pretty impressive given Bournemouth’s woeful defensive record and season in general.
This season is all about Ramsdale settling in and cementing that number one spot. He has competition on his hands, too, which is a good thing. Wes Foderingham is a fine, experienced stopper, while Simon Moore and Michael Verrips are still on the books.
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
So, there is an element of pressure on Aaron Ramsdale, and rightly so to an extent. But this is a new dawn for the Blades in terms of their goalkeeper now. Constant comparisons and judgements against Henderson won’t help anyone. It’s a case of getting right behind our new number one and, hopefully, he can better last season’s five clean-sheets with Bournemouth.