Wales not one-man team with Aaron Ramsey
GARY Speed is determined to avoid the Ryan Giggs syndrome for returning starlet Aaron Ramsey as he looks to get Wales back to winning ways.
The new Welsh boss will meet Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week to discuss the best way to utilise Rambo in his team as he plans the youngster’s international comeback.
But, while Speed wants to see Ramsey shine in the red of Wales, he warned he doesn’t want him to become a solo superstar in his starting XI.
That, of course, was the predicament Giggs had to deal with whenever he went away with Wales, the weight and expectation of a nation upon his shoulders from the moment he broke into the team as a teenager.
Ramsey has been dubbed the player who can turn around Welsh football fortunes, with Speed a huge fan of the 20-year-old’s midfield magic.
But Speed emphasised: “While there is no doubt Aaron is going to be a big player for us and key to what we are trying to do, there are a lot of others who will be just as important.
“I’m not trying to say he’s not a fantastic player because he is – but Aaron can’t do everything on his own.
“He is exciting, a great talent, but we can’t permit ourselves to get into a situation where the moment Aaron isn’t there it’s suddenly doom and gloom.
“He is the future, but it can’t be a case when a whole nation goes, ‘Oh no – he’s not playing so we’re not going to win.’
“That’s vital for him because you don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him – but also for us as a team because we need to move forward together.”
Speed is desperate to get Ramsey straight into his team for next month’s Carling Cup clash with the Republic of Ireland and the Euro 2012 qualifier with England in Cardiff towards the end of March.
Gunners boss Wenger has already said he does not expect Ramsey to be back to his best until then, and Speed said: “I’ve not spoken to Arsene yet, but we’ve been in touch with the club and I’m going down to see him.
“I’ve watched him play for Forest and he’s seemed up to speed so it’s just a fitness issue and hopefully we’ll get a good response when we go there and see where he’s at.
“The England game is the realistic target, but in terms of Ireland it depends what happens between today and then – that’s what we’ll speak to Arsenal about.
“The England game will be the priority, but it’s about what’s the best thing for Aaron because he might need games.”
Ramsey heads up a crop of talented Welsh midfield players, with Speed also having the likes of Celtic’s Joe Ledley and Premier League pair David Edwards and David Vaughan to call upon.
Speed also has players making their mark in the Championship to pick in the shape of youngsters Allen (Swansea), Andy King (Leicester) and the improved Andrew Crofts at Norwich City.
And that’s even before you consider a potential retirement U-turn from Simon Davies and a comeback from injury for West Ham’s Jack Collison.
Speed said: “We need Aaron playing and playing well, but we also need others in the midfield like Allen and King to be playing well and regularly for their clubs.
“It’s about being a successful team rather than having successful individuals because we won’t achieve anything that way.
“It would be easy to say build the team around Aaron, but, although he’s obviously going to be a big part of what we do, it’s how we work together that will matter the most.”
Speed reckons Ramsey shares the composed characteristics that Giggs brought to the fold. Ryan always knew he had to deliver, but knew it was very much about the Wales team as a whole, rather than him as an individual.
“When Giggsy came to play for Wales – and he is the best player this country has seen – he was a down-to-earth youngster and just a part of the team,” recalled Speed, who made his debut as a 20-year-old in 1990 before going on to collect a total of 85 caps, the most for an outfield player.
“From the outside he was ‘Ryan Giggs’ and rightly so because he’s such a fantastic footballer.
“But when he was with the team, he was just another part. He wasn’t put on a pedestal and we were a better side for it.
“That was down to his character as a person and the team ethic we had at the time and I think Aaron is in a similar mould.
“Gareth Bale is identical, great footballer, but a really nice person too.
“And I think they know it’s about being a team rather than individuals because we won’t get anywhere doing that.”