Aaron Ramsey: Player Profile

Arsenal’s Ramsey Reaching New Heights

Personal information
Full name:  Aaron James Ramsey
Date of birth: 26 December 1990
Age: 22
Place of birth: Caerphilly, Wales
Height: 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position: Midfielder

Club information 
Current club: Arsenal
Number: 16

Youth career
1999–2006: Cardiff City

Senior career
2006–2008: Cardiff City 22 Appearances, 2 goals
2008– Arsenal 163 Appearances, 20 goals
2010–2011 → Nottingham Forest (loan) 5 Appearances, 0 goals
2011 → Cardiff City (loan) 6 Appearances, 1 goal

National team
2005–2008 Wales U17 15 Appearances, 2 goals
2007–2009 Wales U21 12 Appearances, 2 goals
2008– Wales 30 Appearances, 8 goals
2012 Great Britain 5 Appearances, 1 goal

There were times over the last two years when it looked like it might have been for the best if Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal parted ways. Special moments had been few and far between for the Welsh youngster since he battled back from a horrendous injury suffered in February 2010.

A brutal challenge – it could not even be described as a tackle by Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross who left the then 19 year old Ramsey with a broken leg and his career very much in doubt.

The road to recovery took over a year and involved on-loan detours to Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City. But just as commentators affixed the number of trophy less years to any mention of Arsenal, so they seemed unable to make any reference to Ramsey without supplementing it with talk of the injury and how he did not quite look the same player.

Arsenal fans made their dissatisfaction with Ramsey’s performances quite clear on a regular basis and there was often a sense that Ramsey was a convenient lightning rod for their frustration with Arsene Wenger and the club in general.

The first shoots of a new emerging Arsenal were evident in their turnaround in last season’s Premier League. Another horrendous start morphed into 52 points from 23 games and a chance at the Champions League was salvaged with a fourth place finish.

Ramsey was central to that rebound but it is only in retrospect that the Welshman receives any credit. It is fair to say that as this season got underway there were few fans of the Gunners who thought of Ramsey as being little more than a reincarnation of a number of other players who had been shown far too much patience by manager Arsene Wenger.

But just when it appeared that Ramsey's time at Arsenal may have been drawing to an ignominious close as the club began an earnest summer clear out of peripheral figures, he has undergone a resurgence as spectacular as it has been surprising.

Not only has his scoring rate shot through the roof (11 goals in all competitions for club and country so far; his previous season best was six), but he has more than held his own against a fit-again Jack Wilshere and record signing Mesut Özil.

This astonishing turnaround, which saw him awarded Premier League Player of the Month for September, was nowhere better exemplified than in the closing exchanges of Arsenal’s  game against Norwich two weeks ago, a match in which he scored once again after embarrassing the Canaries' defence with a mazy run.

With the self-confidence and finesse usually only associated with the world's elite band of flair players, he casually pirouetted between two challenges before slotting the ball where it belongs.

It must be said that it isn't all down to Ramsey himself. Arsenal's long-standing issue with the defensive
midfield position has been at least partially remedied by the return of Mathieu Flamini, which has afforded Ramsey considerably more freedom to push forward.

The increased stoicism of Arsenal's defense this term will also have gone some way to easing the Welshman's mind when it comes to his defensive duties, and with this license to roam he has blossomed into the player he looked destined to become prior to the broken leg he suffered in 2010.

Patience has always been Wenger’s strength and it has also been his weakness. If you are going to give youngsters a chance then you have to be willing to live with the numerous and sometimes costly growing pains.

Some work out and some don’t but anyone would be hard pushed to say that a player cut loose by Arsenal during the Wenger era had not been given more than a fair chance. In the case of Aaron Ramsey and the start he has made to the season, it looks like Wenger’s patience in this instance, is paying off in spades.

It is early in the season and there are legitimate questions as to Arsenal’s staying power that will only be answered when the opposition grows stronger, the days darker and pitches a little bit threadbare. But nonetheless, Ramsey has emerged as one of the keys to Arsenal’s early impressive form.

Even when the boo-boys were giving it full throttle, the one thing that Aaron Ramsey could never be accused of was hiding and not taking responsibility. In fact, Ramsey’s sense of responsibility probably did him no favours.

Wales manager Chris Coleman expressed a similar sentiment when he replaced Ramsey as the Wales captain with Swansea’s Ashley Williams last October. Coleman felt that the pressure was too much for a player with a tendency to try and do everything when things were not going well.

It also says a lot about Ramsey that he accepted Coleman’s decision and likewise for Coleman who had no hesitancy in asking Ramsey to take over from Williams when the centre back was injured recently. And often situations like this at club and the international level can end with feelings hurt and toys being tossed out of the pram.

Maturity and experience has undoubtedly contributed to the “new and improved” Aaron Ramsey and this season he has ticked all the boxes required of a modern all-round midfield player.

His stamina and mobility are extraordinary and although he has trouble running away from the opposition over longer distances, his sharpness over the first few yards often puts the opposition under intense pressure and the ball is often easily recovered.

The composure that he is showing in and around the penalty box is a very encouraging sign that Ramsey is quickly developing into the type of player that all clubs covet and desire – a consistent and prolific scoring threat from midfield. But what is more, when an inevitable form slump comes for Aaron Ramsey nobody should doubt the character of the player, his resilience and his ability to battle through hard times.