Written by Gooner in Exile
Not an ex commando out for revenge going mano-a-mano with a chirpy painter and decorator from south London, nor is he taking on a resurrected white gloved moonwalker.
It is instead a reason to watch an International involving England for the first time in as long as I can remember. I have revelled in many moments over the years of watching International football, normally when the team still played the English game. Italia 90 and Euro 96 spring to mind as great England teams neither of which contained many players from the Arsenal side. I have given up more recently as our approach to International football has become more cumbersome and quite frankly boring to watch.
Today, hopefully, we get to see two young skilful ball players go head to head in the centre of midfield, and more importantly they are our young players, and they are the future of the Arsenal central midfield.
A year separates the two in age but their progression through International ranks has been very similar, Ramsey started in the U17’s at 15, and during the next three years played 15 times at that level, he subsequently played another 12 times for the U21’s before stepping up to full international duty. He has 11 full caps and given that he is only 20 and spent the last year in rehabilitation that is an impressive record. It would be more impressive if the Wales squad was not full of Championship footballers, only three in today’s squad play in the Premier League.
Wilshere has always played above his age group at International level, at 14 starting two games for the U16’s before at 15 starting with the U17‘s and going on to make 10 appearances, subsequently he has played once for the U19’s and 7 times for the U21’s. He now finds himself thrust into the senior side, having made his debut at 18, and his full debut at 19. This has been achieved despite the availability of many players with far more experience and to this extent you could argue that Jack’s achievement has been more impressive.
Ramsey has scored 6 goals during his brief international career two in each of the juinor ranks and two for the seniors, Wilshere so far has mustered just the one goal for the U17’s.
Ramsey has also received the honour of captaining his country, a big ask for someone of his age, but I would hope evidence of a maturity beyond those years. Unfortunately a neanderthal centre back playing for a pillock manager for a team in the midlands has deprived us from seeing this from Rambo.
Gary Speed clearly sees something similar in our Welsh prodigy “He leads by example on and off the pitch and I think everyone looks up to him as well” he went on to say “I made the decision because I thought it was best for the team and Welsh football going forward. There have been young captains in the past. I think Cesc was very young when he got captain of Arsenal, Tony Adams was also very young. Once I had stopped worrying about other factors – what people outside the team think – it was a no-brainer in the end.”
So what of young Jack and what of his chance of captaining England one day, in his press conference Capello was asked about Wilshere’s likelihood to follow in Ramsey’s footsteps and become captain of his country, he answered “It will not be my problem. But I think he is a really good player, to be a captain you need to be a leader and I think Wilshere will be captain in a really short time.” This is something I think most of us assume him to be capable of having seen his impressively mature and hard running performances for the Arsenal this season.
So what can we expect International responsibilities to do for our youngsters. I think the relative qualities of the two players is pretty much self evident, both are good passers of the ball, Jack is probably the better dribbler, but Ramsey appears to have the eye for goal. But who will benefit most or be harmed most from representing their country.
Rambo probably has the easier time of it on International Duty, as captain amongst a team of average players, he is the shining beacon, he is the one others will look to to take the team forward. Also given the low expectation on the Welsh team he is unlikely to suffer the same media criticisms that Jack can expect if he is ever to become the scapegoat for the English tabloid press gang, thankfully Capello is bearing the brunt of their current venting.
Unfortunately for Jack he will have to play amongst the egos of the England team the players who continue to try the same things that haven’t worked for them for the last 10 years. Against Denmark Wilshere struggled to convince teammates to pass the ball to feet, or to give him the ball when he had Danes in close attention, it will be interesting to see how Ramsey is treated differently by his Welsh teammates.
Whatever the result tomorrow it will be an education for us to see the emergence of two future Arsenal stars at International level.
But please……..don’t tackle each other!