Aaron Ramsey had already had enough ups and down to last him a whole career, despite his tender age of 23. The Wales international signed for Arsenal from Cardiff City at the age of 18 and broke into the Gunners’ first team alongside the likes of Cesc Fabregas by the time he was 20.
In 2010 he suffered an horrific leg break at the Britannia Stadium via a tackle made by Ryan Shawcross. His injury took months of rest and rehabilitation and the once he returned to action, some 13 months later, there were the mental barriers to overcome.
In the following two seasons, Ramsey struggled with fitness, form and confidence that had some Arsenal supporters suggesting he would not cut the grade at the Emirates, oftentimes quite vocally. Some of his performances were poor and the overall character of his game between 2011 and 2013 was inconsistent.
Flash-forward to August 2013 and the midfielder seemed to possess a new-found match fitness, far and beyond the stamina and athleticism of the majority of his Arsenal teammates. While his tactical awareness, his reading of the game, his technique, his finishing and, above all, his confidence seemed to have improved ten-fold.
He scored 16 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners last term and, had it not been for another spell out injured in the second half of the season between December and March, he could well have scored many more. He also contributed 10 assists for his team, making him the club’s star performer of the season, the most influential player on the pitch and, furthermore, a talisman.
His performance and winning goal in the FA Cup Final against Hull ended the Gunners’ nine-year wait for a trophy – it’s the kind of career highlights that dreams are made of and he’ll certainly go down as a hero for the North Londoners.
Not content with all of that in a professional career less than seven years old, Ramsey now wants to continue to develop and improve under Arsene Wenger – pundits and commentators were calling him the ‘complete midfielder’ last term, whatever will they call him next?
"I've been through a lot in my short career so far," Ramsey told the club's official website.
"I've had a bit of everything so it was nice to have a good season, score the number of goals that I did and be recognised a lot more. “
"Hopefully I can keep improving and get better and better. That's my target now - just to improve on my game and keep on building every season," he added.
Although Ramsey makes it sound like no big deal to improve it is hard for those watching to conceive of how he could improve. More goals? Or more assists perhaps? I would suggest it could be something as simple as not trying to do too much.
Part of the criticism levelled at Ramsey in previous years has been his over-complication and over-estimation of his ability in some games. In fact, it has been his simplifying of his style of play that has seemed to be most helpful to him last season.
Watching a player like France’s Paul Pogba at the World Cup and the attention and acclaim he received, I would expect that Ramsey’s game will improve subtly and it will be more understated than simply more goals and assists.
Perhaps it will be more power and speed and dynamism. He is not a play-maker, but perhaps he could improve technically and add more dribbling to his game. Regardless of how he improves, it seems the Arsenal midfielder is far from satisfied and still feels as though he has a lot left to prove, which can only be good news for his club.