Mar 24, 2011

Ramsey envies meteoric Wilshere rise

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Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey admits it's difficult for him not to feel a little jealous about the rise to prominence of team-mate Jack Wilshere, ahead of the pair's international meeting at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Ramsey has found first-team opportunities difficult to come by at Emirates Stadium this season, but will be handed a starting berth by Wales coach Gary Speed this weekend, ensuring he goes head-to-head wilth Wilshere, who will be marshalling England's midfield in the European Championship qualifier.

Had Ramsey not been sidelined 13 months ago with a broken leg it may have been he, not Wilshere, who emerged as Arsene Wenger's preferred option in the middle of the park and the 20-year-old Welshman says it is tough not to wonder what might have been. Asked whether he has watched Wilshere's emergence with a hint of envy, Ramsey said: "Absolutely. I thought before my injury I was just starting to kick on.

"I started six or seven games on the bounce and I felt like I was going to stake a claim for a place in the starting XI for Arsenal but these things happen. I've just got to bounce back now. I'm confident in my ability and that I'm capable of playing week in week out for Arsenal so, hopefully, I can do that now."

Ramsey admits he faces a tough fight to displace Wilshere in the Gunners starting line-up, but is happy to acknowledge that his English team-mate deserves his place having produced some superb displays this season.

"He's done well," Ramsey said. "He went out on loan last season and I think that helped him. He's put in some really good performances for Arsenal this season. In training he's no different to what you see in matches. He's very comfortable on the ball and he's a good player."

It will be Ramsey's first international outing since November 2009, when he starred in a 3-0 victory against Scotland, and the former Cardiff City starlet hopes to make a similar impression against England.

"I think the whole team played well on the day and it was a very positive result for us," Ramsey said. "I've been off for a year and it's been difficult to watch the games. But I'm glad to back now and part of it again. I had a couple of loan spells and I feel like I'm really back to where I was.

"I just want to look forward to the future and what I can do for the rest of the season. Hopefully, I'll be playing a lot more games and show what I'm actually capable of and prove to people that you can come back from injuries like this and still be the same player. I'm just looking forward to this game at the weekend. We have all our players fit and ready to go. There has been a lot of change here and hopefully we can now put it all together and really give it a good go and have a good result at the end of it.

With Gareth Bale out injured, much rests on the shoulders of Ramsey and Craig Bellamy, but the Arsenal midfielder insists he is ignoring the media hype and just focusing on playing to the best of his ability at the Millennium Stadium.

"Obviously we want to do well for our country and play a part in what will hopefully be a great result for us on the weekend," Ramsey said. "But I'm sure we don't feel the pressure. We're just concentrating on the job we have to do. You just have to concentrate on your own game.

"Although it's one of the best teams in the world, you don't want to be scared or overawed by the occasion. You just have to concentrate on your own game and hopefully I can do that. I treat all opponents the same. I've played in some big games for Arsenal and there have been good players that have played against me."



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