LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta played down the significance of his surprise decision to leave out England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in favour of David Raya in the 1-0 win at Everton on Sunday.

Spaniard Raya, on loan from Brentford, was given the nod for the trip to Goodison Park and was largely untroubled as his side dominated throughout.

Arteta was inevitably quizzed on the decision to leave out Ramsdale, who played all 38 of their league games last season, but said there was nothing to read into it — saying it was no different to shuffling his outfield options.

“It’s the same rationale that Fabio (Vieira) played here or Eddie (Nketiah) played instead of Gabriel Jesus,” Arteta told reporters. “I haven’t had a single question on why Gabriel Jesus hasn’t started and he’s won more trophies than anyone, including me, in that dressing room.

“I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities like Aaron has, like Karl has, but we have to use them you know.”

Arteta said there had been two occasions in the past as Arsenal manager when he had wanted to change a keeper during the game for tactical reasons but had opted against it largely because it is something rarely seen.

“I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to take a winger, or a striker, or a central defender or to drop to a five and hold that result,” the Spaniard said. “We drew those games and I was so unhappy.

“Why? Why not? (change the keeper). We have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something when something is happening and you want to change momentum. Do it. Now my feeling is to get everybody engaged in the team. They have to play, regardless of the competition. We have to do it.”

The obvious question now is whether or not Raya is preferred in what is a crucial week ahead for Arsenal with a Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday and then a north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

Asked how he thought Ramsdale would react, Arteta said: “The same as Gabriel Jesus, the same as Kai Havertz, the same as Takehiro Tomiyasu. Exactly the same. We play with 11 players. We don’t play with 10 plus one, or sometimes nine. We play with 11 players. Exactly the same.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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