Something has happened to Ramsey over the summer – whether it was getting a decent pre-season under his belt, a renewed self-confidence or simply an improvement technically – the 22-year-old has been Arsenal’s Man of the Match in almost every match of the campaign so far.
He was the standout performer in their Champions League qualification duel with Fenerbahce – over the course of the two legs, he scored two goals and made one assist – and he has been firing on all cylinders for Arsene Wenger in the Gunners’ Premier League fixtures in which he has featured for 90 minutes in all games played.
It’s not just his finishing quality that has come n leaps and bounds, it’s his attitude, his determination, his focus, his stamina, his energy, his intelligence his positioning, his leadership and his authority in midfield that has impressed.
The goals are what attracts the spotlight to him at present but, for me, his industry is more impressive – he has been tireless and relentless in his work to both defend and attack for Wenger. He has completely outshone all of his teammate, including Saturday’s record signing debutante Mesut Ozil who added an assists to proceedings at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland this weekend.
Meanwhile, star man Jack Wilshere has seen a slight dip in his form for both club and country and, especially for England, has come under fire for an uncharacteristically poor performance which, as I outlined last week, it perhaps a little unwarranted, given that the 21-year-old has so much pressure and expectation thrust upon him and he has struggled immensely with his fitness for the past two years.
However, Aaron Ramsey’s emergence as one of the best British midfielders of his generation should inspire hope and optimism not just in Arsene Wenger and Arsenal fans but in Jack Wilshere himself.
Ramsey now infamous leg-break at the hand (or feet) of Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross looked to have curtailed his career at on point – after undergoing a long and hard rehabilitation process physically, the youngster who had only just broken through into Wenger’s first team from the youth ranks, then had an uphill battle mentally and physically to recover his fitness, form and, crucially, confidence.
It is his confidence that has clearly produced these results so far this season – he’s not just fit, match fit or physically stronger, but he has the confidence to push himself harder and further to go that extra mile and find that extra gear, whether than be offensively or defensively for the benefit of his team.
That shows his mental blocks that relate to his fragile fitness over the last couple of seasons since he returned and his subsequent loss of form have been eradicated and he is no longer playing with fear or the hand breaks on and this should inspire his midfield partner Wilshere to aim for the same.
Jack Wilshere only returned in January of this year after 17 months out of the game with ankle and knee problem for which he has undergone several surgeries – the latest of which was just this summer – and he hardly had a pre-season at all.
It’s no wonder we see the same dip in form and confidence in Wilshere that we saw in Ramsey last season and the season before – it’s mental as much as it is physical and the demands of such prestige and pressure for club and country likely don’t and won’t help matters.
However, Arsenal fans, the Arsenal boss and Jack Wilshere must persevere and give the youngster patience, faith, time and it will tell – Jack Wilshere will regain his full fitness, his full form, his full confidence eventually and, thus, he will fulfil his full potential for Arsenal and for England.
image: © wonker