Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Drive to Lille, Wenger, and You'll See How to Get the Best out of Ramsey

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Drive to Lille, Wenger, and You'll See How to Get the Best out of Ramsey

Article excerpt

Andrew Gwilym in Lille THERE has been something of a theme developing among Arsenal fans on social media: how does Aaron Ramsey play like that for Wales? Gunners fans have not seen too many extended periods where the 25-year-old has been at the peak of his powers.

His best spell came in the first half of the 2013-14 season, during which he was the Premier League's outstanding midfielder, before a thigh injury ruled him out for three-and-half months.

Upon his return, Ramsey picked up where he left off before that purple patch -- fitful form undermined by nagging fitness issues.

Yet this summer he has seized the biggest opportunity of his career with performances worthy of the speculation that Barcelona continue to monitor his progress. Ramsey has been outstanding and he will be a pivotal figure when Wales go in search of a place in the semifinals against Belgium tonight.

For Arsenal fans it is easy to question how a player can be so important for his country, when his club do not consistently see the best of him. It is the wrong question. Rather than question the player, question the environments he operates in. One of the reasons Ramsey has shone for Wales is the way Chris Coleman has used him. At Arsenal, Ramsey plays in a deeper role than for Wales. He is, first and foremost, a gifted attacking player. Coleman eased his defensive responsibilities, deployed him as a second No10 alongside Gareth Bale and told the pair of them to strut their stuff.

Ramsey is encouraged to try things.

There are no howls of derision from the stands. If it doesn't come off, don't worry, try again. At Arsenal, he is not afforded the same freedom of expression, having been one of the scapegoats when the team underperform.

He and Bale are clearly the star names in Wales' squad. Rather than discourage that view, Coleman embraces it. …

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