Aaron Ramsey - a future great of this decade?
As 2009 came to a close there were countless features reflecting upon the stars of the Noughties. It was a decade that saw the Premier League blessed with some of the finest midfield generals in world football.
Names such as Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard instantly spring to mind.
A young Gerrard and a long-haired Lampard first came to the fore in the late 90s as potential stars of the future. They fulfilled their potential and are now quite rightly mentioned in the same breath as other greats from decades past.
But as we enter into a new decade there is a fresh crop of youngsters aiming to eclipse the achievements of their predecessors.
Aaron Ramsey is undoubtedly at the fore of this new group of talented youngsters. Should he continue to progess under the guidance of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, he has the necessary talent to become a household name in English football by the conclusion of this decade.
He was first unearthed by Cardiff City in 2007 and he shuffled into the public glare with a superb performance in Cardiff City’s FA Cup quarter-final clash against Middlesborough. Subsequently he was soon linked with many top flight clubs.
The Welsh international rejected the chance to join the current English champions, Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson was keen to sign the youngster but was unable to persuade the player to make the move.
Ramsey had his heart set on a move to Emirates Stadium. The advice of Cardiff City assistant manager, Terry Burton, influenced the player’s decision. Burton had urged Ramsey to opt for north London, saying there were many similarities between the player and Arsenal with regards to playing style and culture.
Wenger had to delve deep into the club’s coffers and pay the princely sum of £5 million in order to prise the 17-year-old away from Cardiff City.
Arsenal are already witnessing the development of Ramsey into an important first team player. In the club’s final game of the decade at Portsmouth, Ramsey found his way onto the scoresheet with a wonderful left-footed strike to top an impressive performance.
He described the goal as his “best moment in an Arsenal shirt”. He has featured in nine successive games for the club and today added to his goal tally, scoring a vital equaliser against West Ham in the third round of the FA Cup.
Ramsey possesses all of the vital ingredients to cut an imposing midfield player: a broad range of passing, the ability to shoot from distance and being unafraid to run at defenders with the ball at his feet.
He could be compared to a young Steven Gerrard. Arguably at this early stage he is even better then a young Gerrard.
His manager, Arsene Wenger, will understandably utilise Ramsey with caution, but we have already seen the French manager become more dependent on the 19-year-old.
Cesc Fabregas is testament to the manufacturing skills of Wenger. The Arsenal captain has flourished in recent years, growing from strength to strength.
Expect Ramsey to follow the same path as the Spaniard and become one of the Premier League’s finest players.