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In December 2016, a teenage Aaron Ramsdale played his only game in Non-League when he featured for Worksop Town as an emergency loanee during a 2-2 draw against Retford United in the NCEL Premier.
Almost five years later, the 23-year-old picked up a clean sheet for England against San Marino as the Three Lions secured qualification for next year's World Cup in Qatar; a competition he will expect to take part in.
It has been an incredible rise for the Arsenal goalkeeper, who has become a regular under Mikel Arteta in the Premier League this season after completing what was, at the time, a controversial £24 million deal from Sheffield United.
A #ThreeLions debut for @AaronRamsdale98! :clap: pic.twitter.com/hIjBrcGwJ0
- England (@England) November 15, 2021
Ramsdale has certainly proved his doubters wrong in recent months [who could forget that save against Leicester] - and last night's appearance at the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle was a much-deserved reward for his efforts.
After the full-time whistle, the likeable shot-stopper was filmed reacting to his first international cap - and it's great viewing.
You can see how much it means.
Start your Tuesday morning with this wholesome video of Aaron Ramsdale receiving his first England cap
Can see exactly what it means to him. Class! :flag_black::heart:pic.twitter.com/g049Y3MANl
- SPORTbible (@sportbible) November 16, 2021
As he clutches the cap, Ramsdale opens up. "It's mad, innit," he says. "It's special, you know. It's a long time coming. Dreaming of this day for a long time."
He continues: "My family was here as well. I think I've seen tears during the national anthem."
"He knew it was a challenge going to Arsenal, trying to get in the team," he said in his press conference ahead of Monday's clash against San Marino.
"He's got in earlier than he thought he might have done when he initially moved there, but he was prepared to take the challenge on.
"When we picked him in the summer, we got stick for picking a keeper that had got relegated. So, it's funny how things change, isn't it?"
Leicester Fans: "You'll never play for England"
Aaron Ramsdale 2 weeks later: pic.twitter.com/86xWiqf8Ua
- Afc things (@Gunner2Jasper) November 15, 2021
Southgate continued: "We have liked that personality. One of the reasons we brought him in in the summer, we knew that personality from the under-20s and the under-21s.
"He'd been across to train with us previously. We felt he fitted in with the group really well. He understood that his role was to sacrifice for the group.
"He's progressing really well. His performances at the end of last season were very good and his performances at the beginning of this season have been very good as well."
Thoughts on Aaron Ramsdale's season so far? Does he deserve that number one spot over Jordan Pickford?
Let us know in the comments.
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