Aaron Ramsey took over the mantle as Arsenal’s longest-serving participant when Theo Walcott joined Everton in the course of the January switch window. The Wales worldwide midfielder had additionally taken on the duty of turning into the Gunners’ midfield lynchpin earlier than a groin damage curtailed his magnificent progress within the league, the place he had scored six objectives and made seven assists in 18 appearances.
Turning the clock again, Ramsey was left in tears after dropping the 2008 FA Cup last to Portsmouth when he was a schoolboy at Cardiff. Aged simply sixteen years and 142 days, the recent confronted teenager performed the ultimate half-hour of a match which former Arsenal striker Kanu scored the winner in. Whereas Ramsey was unable to make any influence on that exact Wembley last, it’s truthful to say he’s since developed right into a participant able to producing match-profitable moments in huge video games – scoring two FA Cup-profitable objectives for Arsenal prior to now three seasons.
The 25-yr-previous coated probably the most distance of anybody in an FA Cup remaining throughout Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea final season: 14.4km (a kilometre each 6.25 minutes). Moreover to scoring the headed winner previous goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, the combative midfielder had a ninety five% cross completion fee and dominated the centre of the park together with his highly effective runs from deep into the field.
“He’s a Frank Lampard-sort participant,” Wenger stated. “He’s getting within the field and he has an enormous capability to run. Definitely bodily he has a mixture of stamina, energy – and his capability to repeat excessive depth is definitely the perfect within the league.”
Wenger has echoed these sentiments through the years and if it wasn’t for a number of damage-plagued seasons, together with a leg break towards Stoke in 2010, then Ramsey’s progress might have been even additional forward than it’s at current. His most important qualities within the Arsenal staff are centred round his relentless operating and skill to penetrate the ultimate third whereas opening up area for the gamers round him – and being performed in his favoured central midfield place now lastly seems a viable choice.
“I’m a central midfielder and that’s the place I like to be,” Ramsey stated in 2016. “I like to be concerned much more within the recreation.”
Certainly, Wenger stated two seasons in the past that he performed Ramsey in an unfavoured proper wing position as a result of “it provides the group stability”. He referred to Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Walcott and Santi Cazorla however these gamers have now been and gone, with solely Cazorla nonetheless on the membership however sidelined with an extended-time period Achilles damage.
There isn’t a doubt that that is Ramsey’s greatest season because the 2013-14 marketing campaign the place he scored 18 occasions from central midfield. He’s a participant who has a better common variety of objectives and assists than Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere, whereas he creates extra possibilities and makes extra tackles than all of Arsenal’s central midfielders put collectively.
Apparently, Wenger’s reference to the ‘stability’ in midfield means that he doesn’t see Ramsey because the tactical, defensive participant who he’d favor to have there. With no defensive midfielder or somebody with defensive qualities to shield the again 4, Arsenal could possibly be left uncovered due to the rampaging runs of Ramsey in addition to Granit Xhaka’s tendency to break ahead and depart gaps within the midfield.
At Euro 2016, Ramsey flourished in midfield for Wales as a result of he was utilised in his favoured position. This season he’s displaying the identical type of type which gained him plaudits for his performances in France. Conscious of his positional obligations and topic to curiosity from a number of prime golf equipment in Europe, it’s crucial that Wenger ties his star man down to a brand new contract earlier than his deal expires subsequent summer time.
“Why not? It’s all there,” stated Wenger when requested whether or not Ramsey might turn into Arsenal captain.
“He has maturity, has improved technically and is extra acutely aware of the significance of his technical qualities. His recreation is clear. He has an enormous bodily energy. The goal for him will probably be to have 30 video games.”
Might the captain’s armband be the potential incentive to extend his profession at Arsenal? For Ramsey it’ll virtually definitely be staying match, then enjoying in his favoured place and profitable trophies. The latter is one thing Ramsey is aware of all about.