“It’s also the coach’s orders” – David Raya responds to incident when Gary Neville called him ‘nervous wreck’ at Arsenal

David Raya and Gary Neville (via Getty Images)
David Raya and Gary Neville (via Getty Images)

Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya responded to pundit Gary Neville's comments on the shot-stopper's performance in the 1-0 win against Manchester City (October 8).

The Spain international has seemingly taken over as the first choice between the sticks at the Emirates after joining the Gunners on loan from Brentford in the summer.

During the aforementioned match, Raya seemed to be holding onto the ball a bit too long for Neville's liking. In the first half, he was closed down by Cityzens forward Julian Alvarez, who nearly deflected the goalkeeper's attempted forward pass into the Arsenal goal.

Speaking after the match, Neville told Sky Sports (via Mirror):

"He's not seeing things as clearly as Arsenal fans would like. I can spot a keeper a mile off that's a nervous wreck and there's one right in front of you. He's not sharp enough and he's very lucky."

Defending his actions, Raya has stated that Mikel Arteta has asked the 28-year-old to hold on to the ball in such moments instead of aimlessly hitting it forward. He responded to Neville's comments by saying:

"It’s something I have internalised, but it’s also the coach’s orders. What he doesn’t want is for us to start hitting balls — we have to invite a player (opponent to press) to come out a little bit.
"I’m the free man, and once a striker or someone jumps me, that leaves a free man on the pitch, and we have to look for superiority. That’s the way the coach tells me to play."

So far this season, Raya has appeared on four occasions for the north Londoners in the Premier League, managing three clean sheets.

Who do Arsenal play next in the Premier League?

Arsenal FC badge (via Getty Images)
Arsenal FC badge (via Getty Images)

Arsenal went into their international break full of confidence after defeating Premier League Champions Manchester City 1-0 at the Emirates. Gabriel Martinelli's deflected goal settled the tie and handed the Gunners all three points.

Following the victory, Mikel Arteta's men leapfrogged Manchester City to take second place in the league standings. So far, they've registered 20 points from eight matches and remain undefeated in the English top flight. They only train league leaders Tottenham Hotspur on goals scored.

Up next for the Gunners is a tricky away test against London rivals Chelsea on Saturday (October 21). Although the Blues are 11th with 11 points, Mauricio Pochettino's men have recorded back-to-back league wins against Fulham (2-0) and Burnley (4-1) coming into this match.

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