By Chris Harris
While catching the eye with his performances on the pitch, Aaron Ramsey does not court publicity off it. But like it or loathe it, he will struggle to avoid the spotlight this weekend.
The 18-year-old will be centre of attention when he returns to Ninian Park on Sunday to face Cardiff City, the club he grew up with. Ramsey joined the Bluebirds as an eight-year-old and developed into one of the hottest properties in British football ahead of last summer's move to Arsenal.
The Wales international is guaranteed a warm reception from the Cardiff faithful this weekend and the feeling is mutual. Ramsey has been looking forward to this one ever since the FA Cup conjured up his dream draw.
"I was at home in the living room watching the draw with my parents and my dad actually called it!" he told Arsenal.com. "When it came out I had lots of texts about the game and now I'm really looking forward to it.
"Cardiff was a big part of my life. I was there for a long time, I came through the youth system there and went on to get into the first team. So it will be mixed emotions on Sunday but I am an Arsenal player now and we want to win the game."
He only turned 18 last month but Ramsey can tell his Arsenal team-mates a thing or two about Wembley showpieces. After all he is the only member of the current squad to play a competitive fixture at the stadium.
That of course came last May when Ramsey emerged from the bench to become the second youngest player to appear in an FA Cup Final. The day ended in disappointment - Cardiff lost 1-0 to Portsmouth - but the competition has been good to Ramsey. It helped make his name at Cardiff; now he intends to use the FA Cup as a launchpad for his Arsenal career.
"It was a great experience [last year]," reflected Ramsey. "We did very well together and we were unfortunate not to get the win at Wembley.
"It's hard to describe how I felt but I was looking forward to it more than anything. When [Cardiff manager] Dave Jones told me to warm up, I started getting excited. I was looking forward to getting on and showing everyone what I can do and try to win the game.
"Obviously we had a good Cup run with Cardiff, that went pretty well and we were pretty successful. Then I played against Plymouth [for Arsenal] and we got through the game so I think FA Cup has been pretty good to me so far. Hopefully that can carry on and I can get to the Final with Arsenal.
"But it will be tough on Sunday. Cardiff like to get the ball down and play football. They have some good individuals like Joe Ledley - he's the captain now at Cardiff. They are very solid, they don't concede many goals. And the fans there are very good, they are really loud and very passionate about their team."Copyright 2015 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 23 Jan 2009