One of his brothers is a prison officer who knows his porridge from his oats, the other is an actor who appears in West End stage productions.

But Aaron Ramsdale, the youngest of three sons, only realised he was growing up fast when Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe called him into his office – and complimented him on the complexion of his skin.

Howe is better-known for the Cherries’ slick football than dermatology, but the diminishing quota of spots on Ramsdale’s face was a sign that England’s Under-21 goalkeeper was learning to look after himself off the pitch.

“When I was on loan at Wimbledon last season, that’s when the penny dropped,” said Ramsdale. “They were the only club in the country without a full-time kit man so I had to wash my own kit. I had to mature quickly because I had no choice.

“I hadn’t been doing myself any favours – I would train well all week, go out on a Saturday night and then on the Monday morning I would be rubbish, all over the place.

Ramsdale had to mature quickly while on loan at Wimbledon – now he’s playing regularly in the Premier League

“The inconsistency was driving me mad, and it was only when I took a step back from the big nights out, and realised they were not helping me, that I got my act together.

“Now I’m more boring and anti-social than I’ve ever been – but I think I’m a better player for it. Spending too long on the X-Box at home is definitely better than being out until six in the morning, put it that way.

READ  Nasser Hussain praises Chris Silverwood appointment as England head coach

“I would come in on a Monday looking like a scruff – nothing that matches, odd socks, I would put on any clothes I could find.

“Now I wonder if the manager sent me out on loan two years running so I could gain playing time but also so he didn’t have a tramp making the place look untidy.

“Last May I had a meeting with him before our final game of the season, and he complimented me on how good my skin looked, how fresh I looked.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe had his own way of complimenting Ramsdale on his growing maturity

“I used to be quite a spotty kid, and some of that was down to my lifestyle and the rubbish I ate on nights out. But I think he was trying to tell me that I was finally growing up.”

Ten years ago, when Bournemouth were rattling collection tins to stay afloat and Sheffield United were heading for lower division obscurity, they were unlikely Premier League bedfellows.

Now it is a top-flight fixture and a showcase for the two best young English keepers in the country.

For the Blades, Dean Henderson calls the shots behind the country’s meanest defence after only Liverpool, and when Ramsdale comes to Bournemouth’s rescue you’ll believe a man can fly.

‘Rambo’ can’t wait to renew acquaintances at Bramall Lane, where he cut his milk teeth as a keeper under Blades messiah Chris Wilder’s tutelage before Howe snapped him up for £1 million as an 18-year-old prospect three years ago.

On Sunday Ramsdale will face Dean Henderson – who he says has had ‘an outstanding season’

“There’s no getting away from it – Deano’s had an outstanding season,” said Ramsdale. “For a newly-promoted side to have kept so many clean sheets in his first season of Premier League football is a fantastic achievement.

READ  Liverpool to play in brand-new 2022 World Cup stadium at Club World Cup

“I owe Sheffield United so much. They were the club who took a chance on me. As a boy, I was a West Brom fan through family allegiances. But as a club, Sheffield United is in my blood now and I’m a Blade at heart as well.”

A couple of sorely-needed home wins – Ramsdale was outstanding against Brighton last month – has broken the Cherries’ freefall towards the danger zone.

But if they need to hold their nerve on the run-in, Rambo will recognise the bitterness and euphoria of relegation scraps on loan from his parent club in the last two seasons. He knows which version he prefers.

“Dropping out of the league with Chesterfield was a horrible experience, something I never want to feel through again,” he said.

Ramsdale never wants to lose a relegation battle again after seeing the effects of dropping out of the league while on loan at Chesterfield

“To come in and see a receptionist in tears, clearing her desk after being made redundant and paying the price because we hadn’t done our jobs properly on the pitch, was heartbreaking.

“Going to Wimbledon last season, and seeing the other side of a relegation battle – where there was a happy ending – didn’t just improve me as a footballer. It made me grow up as a person.

“At one stage we were 10 or 12 points adrift, but I channelled all the emotion of what happened the year before and promised myself: Never again.”

If Ramsdale, now 21, ever needs to keep it real, his brothers are on hand to remind him of the slings and arrows away from professional football’s soft-focus limelight.

READ  Unlikely twins and differing fortunes: Malaysia's Petronas & Indonesia's Pertamina

“We’re a pretty diverse trio, that’s for sure,” he said.

Ramsdale saves during Bournemouth’s win over relegation rivals Brighton last month

“Oliver is an actor in West End theatre productions from Billy Elliot to Dirty Dancing. He’s done pantomime with David Hasselhoff and all sorts.

“I try and go to see him in every show at least once, especially if I like it. I’ve been to watch Billy Elliot three times, and Dirty Dancing gets the audience going – they are literally dancing in the aisles.

“You don’t see many actors fluff their lines on stage in the West End. He works with celebrities on a daily basis and he has a good understanding of the standards required.

Ramsdale celebrates with teammate Callum Wilson after the win over Brighton

Read More

Mirror Football’s Top Stories

“But Edward, the prison officer, is the one who keeps me grounded. Whenever I get too cheeky, he will remind me of his job with a gentle pinch of the arm.

“When he comes home in his uniform, with his keys on his belt as a reminder of who’s behind those locked doors, it brings me down to earth. It’s probably why I live every day like it’s my last.”





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here