By Rob Kelly
Aaron Ramsey says that the experience of playing for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics will live with him for the rest of his life.
The 21-year-old was part of the Great Britain squad that reached the quarter-finals of the football tournament, only to crash out on penalties to Ju Young Park’s South Korea.
Despite that disappointment, the Welsh midfielder savoured every moment of the Games.
“It was a really great experience for me personally. It was good to play in that tournament mode - I haven't done that before,” Ramsey told Arsenal Player.
“We were disappointed with the way it went in the end but it went to penalties and anything can happen there.
“Overall it was a great experience and all of the athletes did tremendously well. It will stay with me now for the rest of my life.”
Ramsey says the whole Team GB squad got caught up in the excitement of the Olympics, and he looked to fellow competitors like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis for inspiration.
“Absolutely [we got caught up in the buzz],” he said. “Reading the papers every day, it was a great event and it was hosted really well. Everyone enjoyed themselves. It was just a great occasion for us and for the country.
“We went out there to try to win a medal. We thought we had a good chance of doing that but it wasn't to be.
“But we recognised the amount of effort and training that is required for people like Mo Farah and Jess Ennis to win a gold medal. We are inspired by them.”
Aside from the excitement of competing in his first international tournament, Ramsey says it was an invaluable learning experience.
“It was definitely different [to playing for Wales],” he said. “Obviously Wales haven't made the finals of a competition yet so it was different playing three games in a week.
“Just the whole tournament mode is different. One of the things I have learned about is how to manage yourself when you are in that mode.
“Hopefully Wales can do that one day and we can qualify for a championship. There will be a few Welsh players who know what is required to handle that situation now.”
Watch the full interview with Aaron on Arsenal Player now.Copyright 2016 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