By Richard Clarke
Aaron Ramsey is one of seven 18-year-olds in the Arsenal squad for tonight’s Champions League game at Olympiacos – but he is undoubtedly the one under the most pressure.
Unlike Gilles Sunu, Luke Ayling, Francis Coquelin, Kyle Bartley, Tom Cruise and Jay-Emmanuel Thomas, the Welshman has expectation on his shoulders.
The clash with the Greek League leaders will be Ramsey’s 40th game for Arsenal since arriving from Cardiff the summer before last. OK, more than half have been substitute appearances, but to be anywhere near a half-century of appearances before your 19th birthday – a landmark Ramsey reaches on Boxing Day – smacks of real quality.
At his pre-match press conference, Wenger was fully aware that his protégé was well in front of his learning curve.
“Ramsey is 18,’” said the manager. “He is quite ahead for his age because he already plays in the Welsh national team and is at a top-level club.
“But when a player like this has a good game, there is quickly a pressure to deliver and sometimes it is difficult to get another game because they are at a top-level club.
“Yet Aaron has spirit, as well as something that is very interesting. He is an efficient player, gets in the box at the right moment and is penetrating. He is not a guy who goes right across the pitch. He goes where it hurts, and when he gets there, he is a good finisher.
“The problem in the modern game is that the talented, quick players are under much more pressure than 15 or 20 years ago.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 9 Dec 2009