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Aaron Ramsey: Strength, Maturity and style. Who cares about a misfiring shot?

Aaron Ramsey. Since the departure of Andrei Arshavin, the 21 year old midfielder form the Welsh town  Caerphilly, has become the target for many frustrated Arsenal fan.

Fair enough but is it warranted?

When you go back to the 07-08 season, Aaron Ramsey was touted as one of the hottest properties in Europe. He had signed with Cardiff as a youngster who beat out the Geordies for the young man’s signature. Soon after his light began to shine and Everton came calling with a bid for £1 million. The bid wasn’t accepted and in the following year, Manchester United came in and reportedly tried to sign Ramsey for £5 million with a guarantee of loaning him back to Cardiff. In the end however, it was Arsenal that he decided was the best fit for him.

Ramsey didn’t feature right coming on sporadically. But when he did come in, he shone. Then in  as we are all aware February 2010 would see him have his ankle snapped by a horrific tackle by Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross. When Ramsey eventually did come back he would go out for a short loan back to Cardiff but then was slotted back into the club, scoring the loan goal against Manchester United towards the end of last season’s campaign.

That brings us to this season. With the emergence of Jack Wilshere it was widely accepted that the English talent would be the fulcrum of Arsenal’s midfield. But after suffering his own season-ending injury, Ramsey would wind up getting more time than I think the club had anticipated giving him.

Remember, before this season, he had only been back at training and playing with the squad for 6-8 months. It may seem like a long time in the scheme of things but recovering from a horrific break it is no time at all (I am 5 yrs in from a pelvic fracture and I can tell you I still have issues associated with it.).

I personally, believe that the lack of form for the Welshman comes down to overuse after just coming back. As of right now between club and country Ramsey has played 38 games – more than he has played at any time in his career – his last highest total was 19 in 2009/2010.

Ramsey has still shown flashes of his brilliance this season.  His best moment for me was the all around performance against Chelsea in October. He hand in developing goals and missed a chance of his own. Other than that he has had an impact as sub against the likes of Olympic Marseilles in the Champion’s League.

Overall, Ramsey is a very clever player and his footballing brain is indicative of someone beyond his years.  He is excellent vision of the field of play and can find the open space and pick the perfect pass. He’s excellent on the ball and when he gets into the open space, he possesses uncanny speed for such a big strong lad.

“The difference in his strength and his maturity – both on and off the pitch – was amazing. It really was a case of someone leaving as a boy and coming back as a man … He is so strong mentally, and he certainly hasn’t been holding anything back.” Cardiff boss Dave Jones during Ramsey’s loan spell

On the downside, he has tendency to hold on to the ball too long, loses out on the occasional physical battle and also let’s himself get pulled out of position. The team’s style has developed into a more direct style of play and Ramsey is trying sometimes to be a little fanciful with the ball rather than being more precise and direct. And then there’s those back heels he tries a little too often for my liking.

Ramsey is struggling. That much is evident. Besides his overuse, I think he is struggling to try and do too much. It’s almost like my youngsters who attempt to try and do too many tricks in the course of a U9 match. First, if you want to do that, get the basics right. When you get the basics right – consistently (most likely by the time they are teens or beyond) then try the tricks. When you keep it simple – good things will happen.

Take for instance the wide open goal he missed versus Manchester City. Joe Hart is a good keeper but from Ramsey was in the box, a simple yet powerful shot would’ve likely beat him. Instead Ramsey rushed his shot and went for the upper right corner.

I disagree with those who think this and other bad displays are down to a crisis of confidence. Frankly, I wonder if he is over confident. He is classy and clever player and sometimes he just may be thinking too much of that. Things like his bad shot or being more direct rather than clever are learned. As Tim Stillman opined in his recent column for Arseblog – it’s stuff that can get worked out on the training pitch.

Here’s the thing though and probably where I think I may disagree with some of Ramsey’s ardent supporters. I think we do him a disservice right now starting him. I think Ramsey can make an impact in these last few games as an impact sub. Let’s remove the chance that leginess takes over for the lad. I know with Arteta out that’s a big gamble. And I am not one of those who are clamoring for Oxlade-Chamberlain to start every match. But I do wonder if it might be better to go with Chamberlain in the midfield at home and let Ramsey come on late in the game.

I am a fan of Ramsey though I’ve been critical. I’ve been critical because I’ve seen a good player – a very good player – make stupid plays and decisions. Again, agreeing with Tim Stillman (I assure I only do this so he says something nice about me), its something that can be taught and let’s remember Rambo is only 21, there is still plenty of room to learn.

For those who would lodge death threats and abuse via social media, I think you should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s alright to be critical, it is however bang out of order to hurl the kind of abuse at a player that has been seen on various social media outlets this week.

I don’t think the abuse is warranted. I believe as many others do that in a few years time (maybe even shorter) the likes of Ramsey (along with Wilshere) will be the backbone of one of the best midfields in England.  The sad thing though is when that happens many of those hurling abuse will be cheering his name from rafters (sadly.)

Until tomorrow. Stay Goonerish!

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