The highlight of the international break for Gooners was the performance of Karl Hein.
Our 4th choice keeper, British fans have become aware of him as he almost single handedly stopped Wales from scoring on Wednesday night, in the process most likely costing the Welsh an automatic qualifying spot for the World Cup.
The Estonia keeper is only 19. When you consider he’s in a position where many feel you don’t reach your peak until you’re in your thirties, there’s certainly zero pressure on the teenager at the moment.
He’s only ever featured in one pre-season fixture for the Gunners although he was on the bench for a Europa League Group fixture last year.
His breakthrough moment is timely. While it’s too early for him to be in the first team there is a pathway in sight.
It’s the club’s policy to loan their youngsters out. Leagues One or Two would get him used to the physicality of the English game.
After that though, he might “reach for the brass ring”, a brass ring which is attainable, especially with Edu making it clear the club are planning for the future.
Leno makes too many errors that lead to goals, hence why we just splashed out 24 million on Ramsdale.
The manner of our defeat at the Etihad overshadowed that Leno could have done better for the first goal where he kind of palmed the ball into the roof of his own net. Just like he was responsible for Brentford’s second goal on the opening day.
In truth Leno hasn’t been the same since an injury ruled him out of the home stretch of the 2019=20 campaign. It’s like his confidence was bruised by all the attention Martinez got for his role in the FA Cup win.
Arteta planned for the two keepers to get the best out of each other through competition. That never happened because Martinez gave an ultimatum, but it might now.
Leno isn’t shy in talking about one day returning to Germany, with reports he’s not happy in London.
The irony is this came during his worst form for the Gunners.
You don’t spend 23 million on a backup. Ramsdale without question has been brought to push Leno hard, with coaches keen to see if our number 1 responds.
I would go as far as to say that Leno should be dropped for this weekend …
After a Transfer window where the majority of signings were 23 or under, supporters might be fed up hearing about another talent that they patiently need to wait to blossom.
Yet to be so young and already capped 10 times is some achievement, and I’m sure Arsenal are grateful that he is getting competitive football in different environments.
If ever there was a time Arsenal would transition a young keeper into their squad it will be this period with the squad already young anyway.
Long term the plan might be to cash in on Leno with his replacement already signed in Ramsdale. That then opens the door for Hein to compete with Ramsdale.
Ramsdale himself has to prove he belongs at this level, so it’s healthy we have young keepers breaking through.
After his clean sheet, Hein admitted he’s hoping his employers took notice of the events from Cardiff. Suddenly a few more of our fan base will be interested in Estonia’s fixtures. He might have found that his social media numbers from the UK increase this week as he goes from an unknown to being known.
Of course, how he deals with that fanfare (which will increase the better he does) will have a big impact on how far he can reach.
Estonia next plays in October at home to Belarus.
Suddenly Estonia has some new fans watching.
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