December 20 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, September 20, 2013
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says has always had faith that Aaron Ramsey would emerge from his horror injury as a stronger, goalscoring midfielder.
The 22-year-old has been in red hot form this term, firing six goals in seven appearances for the Gunners, including one against Marseille in their 2-1 Champions League victory on Wednesday that saw the club record a record 10th straight away victory.
It’s the fulfilment of a promise he showed before suffering a horrific leg break three years ago in a tackle from Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, despite making over 100 appearances for club and country since that dark day at the Britannia Stadium.
“It took him a long time to get completely over that [injury], especially in the duals and the fights,” Wenger said ahead of the Potters’ Premier League visit to north London on Sunday.
“For a long time, he had a little resistance to go into the fights, now he’s over it.
“He scores goals now. I always thought he would score goals if he improved his technical quality.
“When you watched the games you always saw him in good positions in the box. When he got the chances he missed sometimes and he has improved tremendously on that and that’s why he scores goals.
“He has a great engine, great spirit and has an obsession to always be better and they are very good ingredients.”
While it has been his blistering start to the current campaign which has everyone talking, Wenger insisted that he’s known for some time just what Ramsey would be capable of this term.
“It is in the last three or four months of last season [that I knew] but I thought, physically, he had a difficult period in mid-season when people became impatient with him and he lost confidence.
“Sometimes [if] you give players a rest they can rebuild that confidence, think about their game and come back stronger. That’s what happened to him.”
And Wenger never had any fears that Ramsey would emerge, once again, as a top talent, because youth was on his side when he suffered the leg break.
“There is a basic rule in our game,” he said, adding: “When you have a big injury before the age of 20, you come back and develop completely normally once the psychological damage is out of your head.
“I was not too worried but you never know how big or how deep the impact is psychologically.
“I believe that every test that you pass you come back mentally stronger.
“In our career you go through periods where people like you a bit less or hate you a bit more and if you can deal with that it only makes you stronger.”
Ramsey and Arsenal are likely to face a different Stoke to the ones that have caused them so much trouble in the past. Gone is former manager Tony Pulis and, in his place, successor Mark Hughes has begun the process of transforming the Potters’ traditionally direct approach.
“It’s always difficult to change the style of the team because you are judged immediately on the results,” Wenger said.
“For me, it shows that Stoke have good players because when they are capable of adapting it’s always a sign of quality.
“They look to have adapted remarkably quickly.”
Yet Arsenal have recovered impeccably since their opening day Premier League defeat at home to Aston Villa and now sit second in the table behind Liverpool.
With Chelsea suffering their worst start to a campaign in 10 years and new managers at both the Manchester clubs it represents possibly Arsenal’s strongest chance to end their eight-year hunt for a trophy.
Wenger said: “I believe we have a chance [of winning the title] and what is most important is that my full energy has to be on making sure that we can grab that chance.
“It’s too early to assess completely who will be in the fight and who will not be in the fight.
“I’m a bit cautious because today we are too quickly [put] in a crisis - one bad result and everybody questions your potential to be in there.
“Let’s be consistent but you know as well as I do the teams that will fight for the championship.”