Why Ramsey Is My Player Of The Season
Today I welcome a man who blogs for NLIR almost as much as I do. I’m delighted to have him and you’re going to love his writing, put your proverbial hands together for Mr Billy Dunmore (@EducatedGooner) Follow Billy! Take it away Billy…..
The subject of Aaron Ramsey has been blogged to death this year, but I felt unashamedly compelled to justify why I think that the young Welshman deserves the title of Arsenal’s player of the season. I expect many will disagree, many may even disregard this view, but I hope that some readers will appreciate where I’m coming from, whether they end up agreeing or not…
Firstly, I’d like to state that within the constraints of conventional parameters with which we measure how well a player has performed throughout the season, I understand why most fans will most likely opt to choose a player such as Santi Cazorla. I won’t attempt to argue against Santi as the probable popular choice for our player of the season, but rather I will put forward the reasons why Ramsey will almost definitely be my choice. At the end of the day, the way you judge my opinion is up to you, but I respectfully ask that you read on with an open mind and don’t assume that I am blind to the achievements and performances of other players in the squad, because I’m not.
Aaron Ramsey had what I would call an indifferent start to the season as he was thrown in at the deep end; made to play positions which neither he or we (fans) would expect him to play. I simply can’t deny that at times Aaron looked nervous and hesitant on the ball, thus making mistakes which alone would have done his confidence no good. Furthermore, a large proportion of the Arsenal fan base began to single out Ramsey and, in some cases, relentlessly abuse the player. Now, I’m not saying that players shouldn’t be criticised, but to use him as a scapegoat for what seemed most things that went wrong was, in my opinion, unjustifiable and ultimately detrimental to Aaron’s confidence. This was so blatant and widespread that it even led to the comical ‘Blame Ramsey’ hashtag on Twitter (which I understand is predominantly used for a laugh!). However, players are not blind to the views of the fans, especially in these days where social media sites reign supreme.
I don’t want to waffle on about how rough the past few years have been for Aaron, but it’s important that I briefly point out a couple more things.
Firstly, he has come back from what could have been a career-ending injury that he suffered at the age of 19. For any professional football player, recovering from such an injury and returning to the level they were at before requires more than just a team of physiotherapists and family backing (even though they are obviously essential). It requires a certain level patience, determination and belief from the player themselves. For some younger players, this mental side of the recovery can prove challenging, but Aaron clearly displayed that he has such attributes in his locker. Incidentally, these attributes are also the ones that probably helped him stay mentally strong during the period of negativity earlier in the season. I, and I’m sure many others, admire him for that.
Secondly, the death of Gary Speed (may he rest in peace), a man who was so influential on Ramsey, not just as a player but also as a man, would have hit him hard. The trust and confidence that Gary put into Aaron by awarding him the Welsh national team captaincy at just 21 years old, would have created an emotional bond between the two. Thus, I assume that Gary’s death was shockingly painful and sad for Aaron to take.
Despite these setbacks, Ramsey came into this season with the intention of improving and succeeding no matter what we or anyone could throw at him. I would call the first few months of this season a learning curve for Aaron. Whichever position he has played in, he has put in 100% and even though he may have struggled in some matches, he has become a better player as a result. From Right Wing to Right Back and everywhere in midfield, Aaron has become a jack of all trades and is often referred to our utility player. So how can a utility player be player of the season? Well, in my opinion, utility players are underrated in terms of importance to a team and more often than not, title winning sides will have one or two. In that respect, Ramsey has been and still is crucial to our squad this season (and seasons to come).
At the beginning of the season I was moving all over the pitch, playing left-wing, right-wing, right back. I was asked to do a job in many positions, which I’m happy to do for the team. If the manager wants me to play there, I’m not going to say no.
However, it is often said that one may be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Is this true for Ramsey? I don’t believe so. He may not, by definition, have ‘mastered’ one particular role as yet, but I think he is well on his way to doing so. His time playing in other positions has taught him skills he wouldn’t have had otherwise, as a result he has become a more rounded player. This has played into his hands when he occupies the central midfield role which he appears to thrive in.
But I’ve got my place back in the middle and I’m happy with that. My performances have shown what I’m capable of doing in the middle.
His performances in the midfield have not simply been tireless ‘throw yourself about’ performances (a la Scott Parker), as some suggest. He is a very intelligent player and reads the game well, thus he is able to know when to press, put challenges in, and drop and cover in behind his midfield colleagues. These qualities have been essential to Arsenal this season, especially with Arteta needing assistance and the lack of a true CDM. Yes, this is not the ideal situation, even in my eyes, but I don’t think out can be denied that it has worked and brought balance to the midfield that we have craved for large chunks of this season. For that reason alone, Ramsey has been a blessing in terms of helping the team stabilise an area which is so essential to both attack and defence.
Even though I believe that Ramsey combines passionate hunger and intelligence very well, it’s that passion and desire that has impressed me the most. As some of you will know, I’m a big fan of passion and the emotional side of football in general. I accept statistics are a good indicator as to how well a player does in certain areas, but they simply don’t tell the whole story for me. There are players that are statistically perfect, yet have little impact on a game and there are some players that will have a huge impact, but lack the impressive stats. Ramsey, I believe, is the latter. I’d rather have a Ramsey that will fight with everything he’s got until the very end than a player that is statistically good. Maybe that explains why I’m writing this article. Maybe THAT makes me foolish in some people’s eyes, but it’s something I retain as a valued part of why I love football.
So, ultimately there are a number of reasons why Ramsey is my player of the season. His ability to adapt to various positions, his willingness to play wherever he’s told, his passion and hunger on the pitch, his positivity and level-headedness off it, his intelligence, his ‘mental strength’ that has enabled him to bounce back from difficulties (both injury-related and emotional) and most of all his undying, selfless desire to both contribute to and succeed with The Arsenal. In my opinion, that deserves a hell of a lot more recognition.
Thanks Billy. A great post and I couldn’t agree more although we could have chosen a better day to talk about a Welshman ;). I’ve been a big supporter of Ramsey since, well pretty much forever and am glad he is finally finding his way back to his pre-Shawcross promise. Thanks for reading guys and helping me support my fellow Gooner bloggers. Please do leave your comments and don’t forget to click that follow button and check out the official NLIR Facebook page http://facebook.com/northlondonisredblog for news, views, freebies and more.