Mikel Arteta explains why he picked Mat Ryan over Bernd Leno in goal against Fulham

Mat Ryan
Ryan rewarded for his hard work on the training pitch (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta says Mat Ryan’s performances in training have earned him a place in the Arsenal starting XI against Fulham.

Former Brighton shot stopper Ryan was a surprise inclusion on Sunday afternoon, coming into replace regular no1 Bernd Leno for the visit of the Cottagers.

The Australia international has started just one match in all competitions since his arrival in north London in January.

Arteta made five changes to his side for the visit of Fulham and while some of those were with rotation in mind, the Spaniard insisted Ryan’s inclusion is merited.

‘It’s rotation and precaution,’ Arteta told Sky Sports when asked about changes to his side.

Mikel Arteta
Arteta made five changes to his side on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

‘There are players who haven’t recovered from the game [against Slavia Prague on Thursday], we have to be very careful because we don’t want to lose them.

‘And there are others who deserve to play, for example Mat.

‘He trains like a beast, he has been really positive around the place and he deserves a chance as well.’

Arsenal will finish the day in ninth place whatever happens against Fulham but can close the gap on eighth place Everton to a single point with a win over Scott Parker’s side.

MORE : Mikel Arteta warns Arsenal stars against ‘big mistake’ ahead of Fulham clash

MORE : Arsenal provide injury updates on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney

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