Rambo vs Jacko

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!

24 Responses to Rambo vs Jacko

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post GIE.

    Could Ramsey be the next Arsenal Captain? We have yet to witness the flowering of his talent and at the moment I cannot see where he fits into the AFC set up.

    A midfield including Song, Cesc, Ramsey, JW and Nasri severely curtails our attacking options, as Theo will have to be benched, and as far as I can see the other 4 are undroppable

    Where do you think he will play?

  2. Evonne says:

    GIE – great comparison, thanks. They won’t tackle each other, come on, they are clever lads and they know what’s at stake. I think you are right about the more mature English players, those I cannot possibly cheer for today; they are more than likely to spoil the game for our Jack

  3. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all, am in the middle of fence rebuilding, hopefully finish in time to watch the match.

  4. Gooner in Exile says:

    Raddy I think there is at least one in that midfield who won’t be with us in the future, therefore Ramsey does have a place.

    Nasri was given captaincy for France last night…do much for lack of leaders!

  5. London says:

    Cracking post GIE

    I share the view that it is the first time in ages that I am excited about an England game.

    I love the way you say our Welsh prodigy: he may be playing for Wales, he may be their captain but he is ours, lol

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Late post I wrote this morning ….

    Could this be another record….?

    This week Arsenal have 4 players who are their National Captains

    Aaron Ramsey
    Samir Nasri
    Andrei Arshavin
    Tomas Roscicky

    And when fit, Vermaelen is Belgium’s Cpt which would make 5!!

    And people say we lack Leaders ….

  7. Rasp says:

    Super post GiE.

    I shall be watching the game with great interest and almost total impartiality except when either of our boys are in possession of the ball. I’m afraid, the decision to extend Capelo’s contract before the WC was the last straw for me. Not only should Capello have lost his job after but all those who gave him the contract.

  8. Great post pal. How we’re going to fit in all our midfielders and attackers is a good question posed by Big Raddy. Without Cesc, it seems like the best option is 4-4-2, but the personnel fits our current formation more. Here’s what I’d play:

    —————— Szczesny ——————
    Sagna – Djourou ———– Koscielny – Clichy
    ————— Song —– Ramsey ————-
    Walcott ———– Wilshere ———– Nasri
    —————- van Persie ——————

  9. Big Raddy says:

    15. Nice but I really would like us to keep Cesc. He is the heartbeat of the team.

    To take away both Cesc and AA removes much of the unpredictability of the side

  10. chas says:

    Nice post, GIE.

    Great to actually want to watch England for a change.
    Hopefully Rambo can push on and find some form. A game for him at this time in his comeback is perfect.

  11. Gooner in Exile says:

    Agreed Raddy but I fear if we don’t win these 9 games he will return home, let’s be honest Xavi at 30 is nearing his end in that line up….. what chance an exchange deal? Bringing some winning experience to the team in exchange for losing the golden one?

    That’s a deal I could easily get my head and heart around.

  12. Harry says:

    GIE: Nice post, like the bit about the ego’s…..

    Raddy, your right difficult to fit all in and I agree also with your comments about 15YOG’s team, would be great to keep cesc but will we…?

    What we have is plenty of options and depth in them positions, the combination you play i think depends on the opposition….

    at home:

    Ramsey Wilshere

    Walcott Fabregas Nasri

    Van Persie


    Song Ramsey

    Walcott Fabregas Nasri

    Van Persie

    SO many options, but if cesc does go as long as we keep Aaron, Jack and Samir, we’ll cope…….

  13. Harry says:

    Well england win a disappointing game 2-0, off to write my thoughts on our star boys..

  14. London says:


    I assume you are adding 60 mil to that deal as well.

  15. kelsey says:

    Some folk may argue that Cesc will leave if we win the title or not.Price is another issue.

  16. goonerboy says:

    Much talk about Ramsey is premature-he has potential but he is a long way from being there yet. I cant think of one great performance against top rated opposition. Wlilshere too is in danger of being over-hyped-again great potential-but some great young players never fully reach their potential-e.g.Joe Cole or Scott Parker. Reality is Arsenal still struggle to win any game without Cesc. Any talk of Ramsey or Wilshere replacing Cesc is massively premature.

  17. Gooner in Exile says:

    London £60 mil plus an Aston Martin for every AA blogger, and Xavi, then we might let Barca have Cesc.

    Goonerboy not sure anyone’s overhyping Ramsey as for Jack he was brilliant today, simple passes, confident in possession will be good to see his stats.

  18. London says:


    Fair play on the comment, it is a while since we saw Ramsey at the top of his game but there were games when he was very, very impressive, away to West Ham springs to mind, didn’t he score the winner that day? That is the Ramsey I remember, he isn’t back to where he was but that second half today would have helped enormously, I know he lost possession a lot but it is those mistakes I believe that will make him realise just how much he has to raise his game.
    As for Wilshire I tend to agree with you when you say he is in danger of being over hyped but he played well today.
    One of the biggest differences between the two today was that Ramsey has a goal threat about him where as Jack has none.

  19. London says:


    That will teach me for not reading the small print.

  20. Gooner in Exile says:

    It’s so strange that Jack has not threatened to score more this season, I think he has got it in his game.

    A sublime volley in the Emirates cup in 2009? Plus later in the same game a thundering volley from a corner played to him on the 18 yard box shook the crossbar.

    His effort against Brum in CC final another one.

    I watched the FA youth cup final when he tore Liverpool apart in the advanced midfield role. So maybe he is just doing as told at present, or finding it more difficult in the senior level to find the space.

  21. SharkeySure says:

    Both got thru safe and sound by the looks of it !!

    Another 90mins under his belt for Ramsey.

  22. RockyLives says:

    Nice read GiE
    I’m travelling/working this weekend so can’t stay long. Didn’t see any of the game but glad our lads came through unscathed.
    I don’t expect to see the real Ramsey until next season. Coming back from a whole year out is going to be really difficult, but he showed us enough before his injury to prove that he can be a top player.
    As for Jack – I don’t think he’s over hyped. I think he’s the best footballing English player to have come through since, at the very least, Scholes.

  23. Morning all

    New Post

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