Written by Andy Hughes on Friday, 13 April 2012 17:29
Aaron Ramsey has proven to be quite the polarizing figure during his time at Arsenal. He was one of the hottest prospects on these shores when he was a youngster at Cardiff. Subsequently when Arsenal signed him, it was seen somewhat as a coup with such heavy interest from a club with the enormity of Manchester United.
Everything was going according to plan for the then 18 year old, he was impressing whenever making starts or substitute appearances, and he managed to make a full 90 minutes before hitting his 19th birthday. He looked like he was a player Arsenal had somewhat lacked over the years. He was strong, quick, he could pass and his engine was quite remarkable for such a young player with such little big match experience. Some were dreaming of a midfield that could one day contain Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere & Aaron Ramsey. Then, disaster struck for him at the Brittania two years ago. He suffered an injury that could have potentially been career ending. It’s quite a superb achievement that he has managed to come back, fight through his horrific injury, endure frustrating loan spells at Nottingham Forrest & Cardiff and make a real fight of it, to play for Arsenal. Let’s also not forget his achievements on the international stage. The late Gary Speed, an outstanding leader himself in the past, chose Ramsey to lead the new, young Welsh revolution. If that’s not a good maker of outstanding character, I’m not quite sure what is.
I find it quite bewildering that just two years later so many seem to endlessly criticise him, and some go as far to say as they want him out of the club. No-one is saying that he doesn’t have problems; he has often formed quite a frustrating figure whenever he has been on the pitch. He sometimes lingers on the ball for that one second too long, he doesn’t always make the right choice in the final third and he hasn’t shown exceptional finishing ability. What he does provide however, is an outstanding work-rate. He is never invisible on the pitch; he always does his bit defensively, and is usually always involved some way in our attacks, for good or bad. People may remember Cesc’s finishing was often criticised in his younger days, granted he offered more than Ramsey does to this side, but the comparison is still a valid one. It seemed as if Cesc would never find his finishing touch in front of goal, but in the 2009/10 season he grabbed an outstanding 15 Premier League goals in 27 league games. Those are impressive figures for a midfielder, and I’m sure Ramsey will one day replicate that. Spaces all around the penalty area are accommodated by our number #16, he gets into some fantastic positions to score, but it’s just that final touch he is missing too often.
There is no doubt this has been an extremely tough season for the Welshman. People must not forget this is his first full season for Arsenal. He hasn’t been able to develop a huge amount over the last two years, he has had to focus on his recovery rather than progressing as a player. He has been thrust in-to a season that hasn’t been the most stable. He hasn’t had the luxury of being an 18 or a 19 year old progressing at a normal stage. Ramsey was robbed of a vital time period in his development. He is now 21 years old, and he obviously feels that he needs to prove something to Wenger and the fans with increased pressure being placed upon his shoulders. Basically, what I’m saying is that we should get behind this young man, and not use him as a perennial scapegoat every time we fail to win. A player with the application and spirit of Aaron Ramsey is what so many say we need, someone with character that has a will to win. While Ramsey has hardly had an outstanding year, he is someone who can grow if we give him the chance; it’s just down to us to give it to him.
Mean Lean's Response
Thank you for a well written piece Andy. I agree with all of the above and quite frankly I am amazed by the negativity surrounding Aaron at present. I suppose when a young player having his first full season after such a horrendous injury is the target of such anger shows that we must be doing rather well right now. There seems to be this rather strange desire to have a continuous moan about someone on your team.
Unfortunately development isn't allowed these days, context isn't applied but not all youngsters can come from the Championship and then play consistently well at the highest level, especially after spending a year out of the game.
While Ramsey is an unpolished diamond, his potential is clear if you are willing to look hard enough. He is a tough character and he shows that on the pitch. He can have an awful game but he will never shy away from demanding the ball. He is a fighter and a winner, it will be those characteristics that will enable him to improve so he can reach a higher level. The likes of Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta are two great players for Ramsey to learn from. I believe that Ramsey will be a more influential player than both of them in time.
I like many Arsenal fans are very interested to see how the dynamic of the midfield unfolds when Jack Wilshere and hopefully Abou Diaby return to the fold. Arsene must already have his pecking order in his mind and I wonder what that will be. What is certain, is that we have plenty of quality options in that area of the pitch and next season should be exciting. Hopefully Aaron can work very hard on his game and return to pre season fresh and hungry.
Before I go, something was sent to me and I thought I would share. Tony Gale has been rightly chastised for his anti Arsenal commentary but we have come to expect that from others outside the club. But I have been getting rather wound up about Stewart Robson's appalling and what seems obvious intentional negativity towards Arsenal when commentating for various television stations.
He is getting paid a wage by our football club for his talking tactics section on Arsenal player. I'd say Robson is a much better target than a youngster who is giving his all for the club.
Here is a petition to have him replaced. When you compare his ramblings to that of ex Manchester United player Gary Neville then it just puts into perspective the kind of drivel we have to listen to.