Arsenal goalkeeper on the Ramsdale ‘debate’, his unusual route to the top and the reason he feels so mentally strong

“Soap and water, nothing else. Never, ever put them in the washing machine: soap, water, hang them on the line, that’s it.” David Raya has been shown a pair of well-worn goalkeeper gloves, held at arm’s length between thumb and forefinger, and asked his advice: how do you stop these from absolutely stinking? Which they do, he knows, even from a safe distance. The size of the smile reveals that, recognition instant. It’s not something he has to do any more – these days he pulls on a new pair every few games – but it was. Not just the gloves, either.

“My story isn’t the typical footballer’s story,” the Arsenal goalkeeper says, settling on to the steps outside the dressing rooms at the Spanish federation’s Las Rozas HQ, 25km northwest of Madrid.

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