The Making Of A Welsh Messiah!

Part 2  of our Aaron Ramsey series is by @kaltume_b

Throughout History, and especially during Arsene Wenger’s tenure, Arsenal has built a reputation as a club that offers nascent talent a chance to have a shot at the big stage.  Amongst the many, there appeared Aaron Ramsey.

At the tender age of 17, the Welshman was seen as one of the most talented British Midfielders. A keen athlete and avid rugby player as a young school boy he eventually chose football as his main passion.  Starting at the Caerphilly RFC Youth Development Program, Ramsey then went on to join the youth academy at Cardiff City.

After working his way through the youth ranks he eventually got his first team debut against Hull City in the last game of the 2006/2007 championship season, becoming the youngest ever player to play for Cardiff City at the age of 16years and 124 days. Aaron enjoyed a breakout season in 2007 that saw him make 22 appearances and play in the 2-0 FA Cup final defeat to Portsmouth.

So bright was the potential of his talent in midfield that during the season he was constantly being watched and monitored by scouts from the top teams in the premier league. “If I keep my feet on the ground, 2008 could be a big year for me “said Aaron in one of his interviews. And indeed it was, as the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson made inquiries and spoke to then Cardiff Boss Dave Jones about his possible transfer. Shortly after, Arsenal and Everton joined in the race for his coveted signature.
It was a race that would see the Gunners emerge victorious after Ramsey and his family was flown to Switzerland to meet with Arsene Wenger who was working as a French television pundit at the time, he described Aaron as “a player with a fantastic engine, good build, good technique and vision”. On 13th June 2008 Arsenal officially signed the Welsh midfielder from Cardiff City for a transfer fee of £5 Million.

The manager’s detailed promise of how he could help Aaron improve as a player, plus how he had been able to bring up, nurture and give opportunities to other young talented players were words enough to sway the Welsh midfielder to make the move to Arsenal. Ramsey felt that Arsenal wanted him more than the other clubs -yes eat your heart out Fergie-, “they had a plan set out for me and knew how exactly to improve me”.

So began Rambo’s journey in Arsenal and like every journey there are few unexpected twists and turns along the way and his has been no exception.

He started out brightly making his debut for the first team in the Champions League third round qualifying match against FC Twente in August 2008, the league in September providing an assist for Adebayor. Such was the belief and faith in his talent and potential that the manager was willing to give him a chance so early in the start of his Arsenal career.

He was making steady progress that was brought to a shocking untimely halt at the Britannia Stadium in 2010 when a tackle by Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross left him with a double fracture of the tibia and fibula of his right leg; that began the long journey of recovery that would see him out for about 8 months and see him go out on loan to Nottingham Forest and his old club Cardiff City.

It was during his recovery that Arsene Wenger again showed unwavering belief in Aaron by extending his tenure, signing him to a new long term contract with the club.

Before his ascent to the very top last season Aaron had a flip flop and sometimes torrid time regarding his performances on the pitch. He came into a lot of heavy and unfair criticism from fans, which -in my opinion- was to an extent down to difficulty created by the solid and great season Jack Wilshere was having in the team. Aaron looked a shadow of himself the times he did get his chance to play. His problem wasn’t physical anymore, it was -in my humble opinion- more of a psychological handbrake and he can be forgiven after the trauma he went through. That was the ugly duckling phase for him for surely from 2012/2013 season he was maturing and growing into his own till in 2013/2014 season he blossomed into a swan (yes I know a male swan is called a cob).

The buildup to Aaron having a fantastic 2013/2014 started slowly but steadily from the 2012/2013 season where he made a total 21 starts and scored only once in the league. Looking at this stat one may think that he really didn’t do that much and so many people were disillusioned by his performances especially as Wenger was still picking him game after game. During his campaign he suffer from lapses in concentration in games but the critiques were over the top. People failed to notice that Aaron passes the ball extremely well (87%), makes key tackles, has great interception rates, creates  goal scoring opportunities therefore has qualities of a great box to box player. For me personally what I found and still find refreshing about Aaron is his willingness to take shots on goal as sometimes Arsenal are a bit obsessed with creating the perfect walk in goal.

As part of building the club with “British Core” Aaron together with Carl Jenkinson, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all signed new long term contracts in December 2012.  I think that the new contract further galvanized Rambo and gave him the confidence boost he badly needed. The rest of his season became success and he was like a new player.

Before the start of the 2013/2014 season very few people gave Arsenal a chance as usual the critiques believed our campaign was in ruins before it began with the botched attempt to sign Luiz Suarez from Liverpool and the lack of any top class signing at the time. Ramsey was to re-write the script and provide a championship assault performance for the Gunners.

After a promising pre-season he just flexed his muscles and kept moving through the gears without looking back. The deadline day signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid brought a wave of excitement and optimism that had been lacking for a while, but it was Rambo that would take the spotlight and produce one of his finest performances in an Arsenal shirt.

August to December 2013 saw Aaron provide performances for the highlight reel he became the heartbeat and most influential player for the Gunners providing assists, breaking up play and scoring some memorable goals. He was the darling of the moment everything he did was magic, he was proving the doubters wrong and Gooners all around the globe even the most pessimistic were falling in love all over again with Arsenal’s new talisman.

 Once Rambo started scoring he didn’t know how to stop by November he had amassed 13 goals in all competitions overhauling his career 11 goal tally in his previous 4 seasons at the club and it was not even January.

It wasn’t just his goal scoring record that was impressive Aaron was the consummate team player providing assists for his team mates and generally elevating the spirits within the team. His positioning on the field has been one of the key areas that has assisted in his success. This saw him win the Arsenal Player of the month 4 consecutive times and the Barclays player of the month in September. He was without a doubt the best midfielder in the league and he is one of the top young midfielders in Europe. “We bought Ramsey for £5 million and I wouldn’t sell him for £50 million” said Arsene after another fine performance against Cardiff City. 

The injury Gods would once again deal a blow to Aaron’s flying form; he would sustain a thigh injury against West Ham that would see him out for over three months. His absence would see the Gunners run take a nose dive that will see the team go from top of the pile to battling for the 4th Champions League place with Everton.

 During the 2013/2014 campaign he scored some incredible goals the 25 yard belter against Liverpool, the goals against Norwich, Dortmund, and Stoke but surely the crowning glory has to be the goal in the FA Cup final.

He ensured the team closed out the season with a bang and returned that championship winning feeling that a lot of us fans have forgotten. I missed the opening stages of the FA Cup final and my phone was dead, as soon as I got home and turned on the TV I couldn’t believe we were 2-0 down. I kept praying please don’t bottle this Arsenal, my United supporting brother said “you need some Aaron magic” little did he know how prophetic his words would be. He was not having his best match but he was everywhere on the pitch tackling, passing and yes shooting. He and the team would dig in and claw their way out to emerge victorious in the Wembley sunshine and end the 9 year trophy drought.

Aaron has come a long way from the teenage prodigy to delivering on the promise of being one of the best young midfielders in Europe. He has established himself as a dominant player in the Arsenal team with aggressive offensiveness and consistent defensive qualities. He was written off time and time again by critics and fans but like a phoenix he has risen again even more determined and has proved he can hold his own among the elites of football, not too bad for a boy from a rugby town.

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99 comments on “The Making Of A Welsh Messiah!

  1. i disagree with you completely FH and anicoll. in fact i’m suprise anyone would defend such a decadence on the part of a professional footballer, let alone an arsenal player. we all know how talented bendtner is, but his indiscipline has landed him clubless today. your talent can only take you far in this business. ronaldinho would still have been on top of the ladder now but for his indiscipline which he himself regretably acknowledged. a professional footballer cant spent his time anyhow despite being on holidays. gibbs spent his trying to keep fit by hiring a fitness trainer. if you want to be the best at what you do, you have to learn from the best professionals. wenger frowns at such a behaviour. infact he insist on the best diets and practices from his players. it’s well documented that english players are not so disciplined. maybe it has something to do with the general way of life of an average english person. bot arsenal way is definately diferent.
    henry, vieira, bergkamp, rosicky, sagna, kos, ramsey etc are good example any arsenal player shuld want to emulate. if jack continues this way, he definitely will have no future in arsene wenger’s team. because he is a top professional.
    jack is not even as talented as adriano, ronaldo, ronaldinho, maradona. i delibrately didnt put anyone from england because i dont remember any with the talent of those. but their lifestyle truncated their careers.


  2. what no smileys?

    your site. ok.



  3. The slight problem is Dex, if Alan Hansen is a lazy ignorant fool whose opinion about any footballing matter I take with a substantial pinch of salt ….

    Why would I care what his original
    Opinion on Theo was ?

    Or be wowed by his 180 degree turnaround

    He was a lazy ignorant idiot then

    What has changed ?


  4. w.r.t to Jack..

    Jack had a brilliant season too. That was the time when Jack was the real deal and Aaron was potential.

    for me they are both still potential..and i define potential as all those players who are yet to hit their peaks.

    there is no arguing who is a better player currently though. Jack is a better dribbler but aaron is a better passer, finisher, game reader and has a better engine. both are gritty and most importantly LOVE arsenal imo.


  5. ani; Well, considering he has comne out with more high profiles gaffs (You caaaant win anyfink wiv kids!), suggesting that was his biggest regret, in all that time he was annoying the shizen out of us on MotD, is worthy of a modicom of kudos… Shirley?

    Go on, give him a teensy weensy bit!


  6. Just as lazy, still an idiot but marginally less ignorant.


  7. how would smoking and booze make someone a better player? i dont care about what some pundits say. i dont even live in england. but merely seeing the pictures, i see someone who does not give a damn what wenger thinks or would say. the last time he did something like that, wenger said he doesnt approve of such behaviour from his players, promising to have a word with him. seeing him do the same thing is telling him to go to hell. i’m sure if he has been showing this kind of behaviour, wenger wouldnt have put so much faith in him to hand him the number 10.
    who cares if rooney is a drunkard, or gerrard. i’m concerned about jack. i have even said it here that i dont want him to play for england anymore because those english lads are having negative influence on him. i struggle to see anyone else in our club wanting to become like rooney. i just fear for ox!


  8. i’m waiting to hear how wenger will praise him for spending his holiday smoking and drinking and partying. wenger always praise his players who always take good care of their bodies.


  9. Alan Hansen needs to come to the Arsenal training ground and let Wenger give him fifty lashes for causing Theo so much grief.

    I love all these mea culpas. It’s as if they think we’re going to forget all the nasty stuff they’ve said and all the piling on just because we have a stronger squad now.


  10. Layksite: put like that you are right of course, but what I was ranting about was the way people are being so quick to condemn him as a player. They are picking on him because he plays for us and because England got knocked out of the World Cup (before he had even played).


  11. layksite

    Yes, you are basing your opinion on photos, hardly damning ecidence that Wilshere has a drink problem, or smokes 20 fags a day.

    Are you familiar with Tony Adams, Ray parlour and paul merson’s Tuesday club?

    Sorry, but I find this high horsed moral outrage tedious and rather nasty.

    More tea vicar?


  12. Oliver Holt ‏@OllieHolt22 Jul 14

    Jack Wilshere has cigarette on holiday=people outraged. JW befriends kid with cancer and helps his family=nobody cares. This is England


  13. As I believe I said Layksite …….
    Perhaps what AW could have suggested to the meeja that they mind their own business about what a young player on their holidays does ?

    Or do you feel we have a “right to know” what all our players do on holiday – not to mention the manager himself ?


  14. I saw the picture of Jack smoking and have to say I wasn’t really bothered by it. He was taking a puff from a friend’s cigarette, it’s not like he has a pack a day habit.

    Cesc can go eff a goat. Even if we lose Jack I don’t want that bastard back at Arsenal. He can go choke on some Barca DNA for all I care.


  15. I can see how this will work

    Constant 24/7 surveillance

    Anyone has a beer ? BAAAM – two weeks wages

    Tucking into a burger ? Kaboom ! transfer list

    Groping a lady, or chap, not your spouse ? No statue – not now not ever


  16. Really Dexter, you think Arsene would tolerate the Tuesday club now? He knock it on the head from his day one.
    I don’t really have a problem with Jack letting his hair down, But Arsene said he didn’t like it and he would speak to him. I assume he did . Therefore Jack has basically said ” Bollocks.I’ll do what I want”
    I wonder if Paul Scholes told him that was what he should be doing?
    At best he is displaying a lack of respect .


  17. I suspect if Arsene thought his lads going out on the lash once a week would develop them into a better football team PG I think he would be the first man at the bar

    Let’s face it – Tom Cleverly is tee total

    Tells me all I need to know


  18. No george, he wouldnt tolerate the Tuesday Club ever. But that wasnt my point!

    The Tuesday Club WAS something that would make the media (coke head lushes the lot of em) really make layskite faint with the rabid headlines!

    Jack’s antics, hardly register to be honest. Wenger will be more pissed off that he was stupid enough to allow someone to take a photo.

    Dupps Ollie Holt tweet is spot on.


  19. Ani;

    That all sounds very reasonable and fair!


  20. So, let’s get this clear.

    Jack did something – “it”.
    Arsène said he didn’t like “it”.
    Arsène told Jack he didn’t like “it”.
    Jack did “it” again.
    Therefore Jack did not respect Arsène.

    Well, if Jack really did “it” – and if Arsène really told him he didn’t like “it” – and if Jack really did “it” again – and if “it” was something that Arsène could legitimately preclude Jack from doing – then we can without doubt say that in this case Jack withheld respect from Arsène.

    But the prosecution case is based on a rather large number of “ifs”, M’Lud.


  21. LJ Anicoll5: I agree


  22. Alabama Gooner

    This is for you, following your great article a few weeks back. Sorry, no Ramsey, but hoping it’ll be more than Scant Consolation:


  23. Dexter July 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm
    Wenger will be more pissed off that he was stupid enough to allow someone to take a photo.




  24. Haha. Franks been hanging with Niki b too long. Don’t they check these guys for illegal substances and drugs?? Poor kolo got one year of solitary for taking his wife’s diet pills. Jack will be given another chance to redeem himself but it seems like he is intent on doing it his way. In more than one way. Lets hope he does an about face and puts his mind to the most important thing. His career and his club…


  25. dex
    one thing i notice here over time is that some of you are quick to deride others based on religion or moral stand. well i may be but never condemn anyone because he or she doesnt align with my moral stand. i condemn jack’s behaviour based on the fact that wenger has always said that things like that is inimical to health and career of any professional footballer.
    i asked a question, do smoking and alcoholism make someone better in what he does. give me example of players who have become better by partying, smoking and drinking.
    if there is a major change that wenger brought into arsenal? It is eradicating the english habit of boozing and alcoholism that tony and others where deeply involved when he arrived. no wonder arsenal were just among the ‘also runs’ in the league when arsene arrived. we talk about class when we talk about most arsenal players but cant say the same about jack anymore. jack is becoming more an everage english player every minute.
    germany just won the world cup and we are yet to see or hear any scandal about their team. i may be wrong but on that very day, i didnt see any picture of them getting drunk. gotze got the winning goal, he is jack’s age who is already living the dream. but we always see jack as the future.

    has jack been pictured smoking previously? yes. did wenger approve of it? no. did wenger say it publicly that he will speak to jack about it? yes. did jack repeat the same? yes.
    so there is no ‘if’. he simply dont respect wenger. maybe because wenger is a vicar.


  26. Don’t see any one bring up religion apart from you layksite.


  27. You should get a job as neil Ashton’s shit spreader.


  28. Just a quick question.. What if Jack has a great season.. Will you guys still be angry for this one off day..


  29. Layksite

    You should have seen me on Hackney marshes playing for Caledonian Road United on a Sunday morning, still drunk and stoned, I was the best CB / sweeper on the pitch, then at half time, couple of cigs, a snort and a slice of orange did the fucking trick to get me through the second half.


  30. lol… who is this sid lurking in the shadows and having pops at posters? sid? come out ..talk to us , dont be afraid…

    NB im with you, as an extremely gifted and talented amateur and as per my lengthy experience in football pitches all over europe ….. if i did not smoke before the game i would run around like an idiot, tackling people, getting tired and not thinking properly. a smoke before the game settled the fixture anticipation nerves, gave me confidence, vision and the clarity of mind to execute what i was thinking plus you get into that deep “zone” after the initial 15 mins of suffering and catching your breath that helps you go and on like a motor. that being said, layksite is right of course. wenger would laugh at us and send us to hannover to improve.


  31. NB. And then to show your religious credentials a quick spell on that great white telephone to heaven after the game before finally settling things with a couple of pints before lunch and then The Big Match on the telly.


  32. in fact now with all the robots and ergo-metric tests and cybex machines …..jeez cant imagine myself there…would crash the system i think and that equipment looks quite expensive…. would be like homer and his cholesterole green-ray scan with dr hibbert


  33. FH

    Often didn’t get a chance to get to the white telephone so it would be a Messi on the pitch.


  34. And now look at you: drinking wine and eating sausage in the sun.


  35. yeah, just the tipple and the food has changed, everything else is still exactly the same.
    Bugger, I’d done well this morning with not having a drink…. now I’m on my way to the kitchen to open a bag-in-box.

    George… I thought the title for this piece about Rambo should have been:

    The Making of a Welsh Rare-bit of talent


  36. the rising son


  37. Since when did Jack start becoming an average English player? He had a stop start season last year due to injury, but out of all the games he played there was one half where he played out on the left that he was not very good. Other than that, he was more than decent until he was injured. This sky is falling nonsense over Jack taking a few puffs from a cigarette in the offseason is beyond idiotic. Get a freaking grip. The English media is treating Jack like they’ve treated Rooney and I don’t like it.


  38. If we was somehow able to see photos and read reports of every “rated” english or epl footballer living or experiencing some sort of “excess”, Jack’s latest would seem tame and ordinary. These guys are celebrity “brands”, young, testosterone-fueled beings, many of whom are not as intellectually and morally endowed as Socrates was, and he had a damn good time anyway as far as I recall. It takes a frightening strength of character to earn that much cash, come from working class ghetto/favela/township street-wise background, be on the back pages of newspapers every other week and still remain humble and somewhat normal; which is why Aaron will remain ahead of Jack.

    Simply, a level headed lad will tend to go further.

    As for Jack’s football, while true in some ways that his uncanny method of (a) ghosting left-footed past any player (b) acceleration through the middle (c) not losing the ball (d) incisive clever lob/pass; has not hugely improved (nor declined), he is damn good. For evidence I refer you to “that goal” (the 1-2-3-4-5 pass move, Jack and Giroud) which if not goal of the season is a travesty; one of the best team goals I’ve ever seen. Jack was, as I recall as the heart of all that.

    The thing is, he’s thickened a bit, no not in the head – in the torso and legs, slowed a bit, and at the same time not been completely injury-free for 2 seasons now. Young players do not develop in a straight line, so to speak, but in steps, horizontal (nothing happening) for a bit, then rapid skill upgrade to next technical level, and so on. Think Theo, every time some idiot on ACLF said, “no, that’s it Theo simply is not improving” we would see some technical innovation to his game; until he became closer to the all round package he (nearly) is now; the movement, the shot, the speed, ball control on the run, cut inside, cut outside to byline, keep ball, pass back, and cross all very good; he is not a dribbler, never was, and never was going to be. He also had his injuries, but Jack’s seem worse to me, both ankles now, both medium term.

    With a decent break/rest to his body, speed and strength training (in Las Vegas, ha ha), and then whatever technical regime Le Boss uses on these guys, we ought to see a technical step up by Jack, faster decision and movement; I think he has been held back by the injuries, which have been very debilitating for a 22-year old.


  39. i dont think anyone has complaints of the player wilshere or what he does on holidays…its these little english mentalities id personally like to see him get rid off…these decadent cultural traits…. last time he was talking about the pride to play for england in the english ‘strengths’ of running and tackling….listens and pays attention to mugs liek steve g paul s and hangs out with the clown who wanted to scare pirlo ( hahaaa) …id like to see him be cultivated,, international mentality…dont give a shit about smoking or who he shags in miami but would be criminal to waste that talent especially with wenger’s universal education he gives to arsenal players. if parlour keown etc could change in their late 20’s early 30s then surely jack can do it now that he is younger and its easier ?


  40. ” The English media is treating Jack like they’ve treated Rooney ”

    It will only get worse: http://www.football365.com/mediawatch/9382745/The-Page-That-Left-Him-Most-Of-The-Work

    Not sure if hanging around with Joe “you wanna see some serious flappin’ and screaming?” Hart is the wisest plan…


  41. and be advised….media dont want us happy…… the manner in which a section of the media is trying to piss on sanchez and arsenal fans feel good factor is beyond obvious and so fucking ridiculous i wonder when will the magnificent AST and payton put them to the sword (?? does this expression stand??)


  42. I don’t often click onto 365 but I do enjoy a comprehensive thorough demolition of the dribbling monkeys from talkshite every now and then:



  43. Those dribbling monkeys are Timmy P’s pin up heroes. He looks at Martin Samuels and thinks: “now there’s a man who understands sport.”


  44. i mean…look at media giving shit to bechkam just cause his sons were wearing argentina jerseys..im telling ya…this insistence of the english to patriotically relate their football with war feuds and other general mickey mouse propaganda crap is THE MAIN REASON why noone takes them seriously at football and why jack should stay clear of all this shit…denounce them jack..raise the middle one! you are english in blood, your culture is arsene-al i.e international. ..


  45. and today i will commit to my backflip/ summersault. mesut ozil. i wanted to kill him when he missed that penalty in that faggoty manner against neuer for in my eyes he ruined the teams momentum not just for that game but for the whole season. today though i read that mesut ozil will donate to 23 kids (one for each member of the national team) for medical purposes…as well as donating his bonus from german f.a ( 350k euros) for the world cup victory to children in gaza strip after refusing to shake hands with fifa delegate for supporting israeli murder-policies. mesut can run like a diva all he wants and is removed from the responsibity of defending as far as im concerned. fuck israel. röspöct !


  46. stop doing that to me george…..


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