Former Gunners midfielder says Wales star is ready to be Arsenal captain

Wales' Aaron Ramsey thanks the fans for their support

Wales' Aaron Ramsey thanks the fans for their support - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Welsh football’s brightest star is clearly still in north London – not Madrid.

Aaron Ramsey’s growing reputation on the international stage was further enhanced on Tuesday with a late equaliser for his country in their 1-1 draw at in-form Belgium – many people’s dark horses for next year’s World Cup.

While Wales will have to sit on the sidelines again – they have not reached a major tournament since 1958 – Ramsey’s neat finish in Brussels gave the Principality some pride after a wretched qualification campaign.

The goal – which took him into double figures already this season – followed a man of the match display for Wales in their 1-0 win over Macedonia last Friday.

Former Arsenal and Wales midfielder Peter Nicholas has been hugely impressed with the rise and rise of his compatriot, dubbed ‘Rambo’ – and believes he will one day captain both club and country.

“He’s captaining Wales already and rightly so, and I can certainly see him doing the same for Arsenal too,” says Nicholas.

“He has to be a contender for the armband, particularly with the current club captain Thomas Vermaelen not even in the team.

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“He has moved up a couple of gears. Aaron is very consistent and, for me, is currently one of the best players in the world, and not just in Britain.

“Aaron is THAT good. He is becoming a top player who could get into any team in the world and has had to come through a lot to do so.

“He has had two big injuries – one that could have ended his career – but the difference now is that he appears to have his confidence back.

“Confidence is key in football, believe me. And he now looks like a guy who is loving his football and has total belief in his ability. He is also leading by example.

“Arsene Wenger has built a very strong team there, he is surrounded by great players and great competition, and he has responded magnificently.

“As I say, Aaron is playing with a smile on his face – he is clearly relishing working with great players, and now he is free of injury we are seeing a fantastic player.”

His national boss concurs. Chris Coleman, who is shortly expected to make a decision on whether to stay on as Wales manager, also sang the Caerphilly-born midfielder’s praises this week, saying: “I’d put Aaron in any team because of the way he is playing. Rambo could play in the Belgian team – absolutely.

“There’s not a manager who wouldn’t want him in his team every game. I don’t say that because I’m Welsh. He’s just that good at the moment.”

Nicholas, who made 80 appearances in the Gunners’ midfield during the early 1980s, now wants to see Ramsey’s fine form accompanied by medals.

“Both Aaron and Arsenal need a trophy,” adds Nicholas.

“The club has gone too long without winning anything.

“Aaron deserves medals to go with his talents and consistency – and, of course, the fans deserve silverware and success after sticking by the club and turning up in their droves week in, week out.

“Aaron can help deliver that success. He is playing with Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere in the middle and looks born to play there.

“He is loving his football – both for club and country – and would have an even bigger smile on his face if he was to pick up a trophy at the end of the season. I believe he – and Arsenal – can do it.”