22-year-old Aaron Ramsey burst on to the scene back in 2008 as one of the most promising British talents of his generation. Arsenal signed him from Cardiff City for a fee of £4.8 million when he was barely 18 years old.
However, since he had his leg snapped in half in an unfortunate incident with Ryan Shawcross back in February 2010, Ramsey has lacked fitness, form and confidence for the Gunners and has now been overtaken in the pecking order by Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both his junior.
Until midweek when he put in a stirring performance against West Ham in central midfield. His regular position. Isn't it funny he played well there. But has it secured his future? It's hard to say definitively.
His manager Arsene Wenger currently has his first-choice trio of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, and Santi Cazorla and Ramsey has been moved out on to the right wing here and there this season in the absence of Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain but the Welshman hasn’t looked comfortable there and it’s clearly not his best position.
The manager has also outlined his belief that 19-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain will eventually be converted into a central midfielder where he would likely accompany Wilshere and the improving Francis Coquelin or Emmanuel Frimpong in the future.
For the time being, there is Arteta, Cazorla, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky and even 20-year-old Thomas Eisfeld who will likely earn himself some senior first-team action next season after some impressive displays for the youth and reserve teams.
So, where exactly does this leave Aaron Ramsey? He’s just signed a new 5-year-deal which will keep him at the Emirates until he’s almost 27. Long-term, he is clearly in Wenger's plans, and he did himself a lot of favours against the Hammers.
Obviously there will be injuries, incoming and outgoing players in that period of time but a player of his caliber really needs to be a regular first-team player somewhere and, no matter how you look at it and whatever permutations of a midfield you come up with, Ramsey is not going to shift anyone out of his way unless he gets some regular games to prove himself.
The question he has to answer over the next few seasons, is whether he can get enough games to be considered a first choice. If not, then his future may lie away from the Emirates.
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