A lot of people have got it in for Aaron Ramsey right now.
Following our victory over Bolton I read several comments on AA and elsewhere to the effect that our young Welshie had a bad game and should be dropped to the stiffs.
Before the match someone even said he was turning into the new Denilson – always passing backwards and sideways as if, having grown up in a rugby-loving country, he was unaware that, with a round ball, you’re allowed to pass forwards.
His short outing in our Champions League win over Olympiacos also drew quite a bit of criticism in the blog world.
Critics have gone so far as to suggest that he needs a spell on loan somewhere, possibly in the Championship.
Opinions are free and everyone is entitled to their own. But the trouble with free things is that often the reason they’re free is that they have no value. And there is no value whatsoever in an opinion that writes off a promising youngster like Aaron Ramsey before his career has even started.
It may seem like AR16 has been with us for quite a while – and in terms of years and months he has, having joined us in the summer of 2008.
But in playing terms he is effectively in his first season, thanks to the bone-snapping attentions of Frankenpulis’s monster.
In his entire Arsenal career Aaron has started only 19 EPL games. He has only started 35 games in all competitions, including the Carling Cup.
Jack Wilshere, by contrast, has started 31 EPL games and 51 in total. He is almost twice as far ahead in his first team development as Aaron despite being a year younger.
None of us can guarantee that a young player will achieve their potential (my mate got himself a Glenn Helder shirt after watching his first game for the Gunners – oh how we laughed in the following weeks). But sometimes you can just see things in teenage prospects that convince you that they are special (in a good way, not in a Gary Neville windscreen-licking kind of way).
Most of us saw it in Wilshere and many of us now see it in Ramsey. Don’t forget that only a couple of weeks ago he was MoTM in the Wales-England international.
Ramsey has composure, drive and a good engine. He can also score goals with well-timed late runs into the danger area.
The prospect of him and Wilshere running our midfield in years to come is mouthwatering.
But he is still in the shallowest foothills of his career and he will make mistakes, will drift out of games and will sometimes have off days.
When he does, surely the right thing to say is “Ramsey had an off day” and not “Ramsey is rubbish,” as I have seen written about him recently.
In short, he is a talented young man who needs support from the Arsenal faithful at this early stage of his development, not people writing off his entire Arsenal career after one or two performances (which, by the way, have been pretty solid all season).
Mark my words, this boy is going to go from lying on the turf at the Britannia Stadium with half his leg missing to being an Arsenal hero of the highest order. From leg end to legend. Just watch, and stop doubting.