Wales’ national football team’s manager Robert Page confirmed that the team won’t alter their strategy despite losing captain Aaron Ramsey to injury.
Ramsey is sidelined for a minimum of eight to 10 weeks due to a ruptured tendon in his knee during training with Cardiff on September 16. The possibility of surgery could extend his recovery time further.
“With Aaron, we were waiting to see how long he would be out and were hopeful he would not need surgery,” said Cardiff boss Erol Bulut after the incident. “But right now, he will be out for at least eight to 10 weeks and if he needs surgery, it could be up to [an extra] 12 weeks.”
Consequently, Ramsey will miss the remaining European Championship qualifiers against Croatia on October 15 and Armenia and Turkey in November. Ramsey’s absence is a setback for the team, but they aim to remain focused on upcoming matches.
“It’s a shame and it’s a blow, of course it is,” said Page. “But there’s nothing we can do. We have just got to get on with it and focus on the two games coming up, and especially the game against Croatia in Cardiff.”
A major setback
Ramsey’s absence comes as a major setback for Wales. The team is also without Brennan Johnson. Despite their recent win in Latvia, Wales is currently fourth in Group D, trailing Turkey and Croatia by three points. Securing a positive result against unbeaten Croatia is crucial for their automatic qualification chances.
Despite the potential challenges, Page is confident in the attacking options available to Wales and emphasized that their approach to the game will remain unchanged despite injuries.
“We are quite strong in those front positions, albeit we have people like Kieffer [Moore] not playing as many minutes as we’d like,” he said to BBC Radio Wales.
“Aaron’s replacement in Latvia was David Brooks. It’s not a bad replacement to have – he scored the all-important second goal for us. We have Harry Wilson playing in the Premiership, DJ [Daniel James] contributing towards assists and goals for Leeds.”
Ramsey made his debut for Wales in 2008. He played a pivotal part in Wales’ Euro 2016 semi-final run and earned a spot in the Team of the Tournament. Ramsey contributed to Wales’ qualification for Euro 2020, and the team reached the round of 16. His involvement was crucial in securing Wales’ qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a historic achievement since 1958.
His early journey into football began when he attended an Urdd training session in Caerphilly at the age of nine. The versatile midfielder began his football career as a youth player at Cardiff City. In 2008, he joined Arsenal for £5 million, but a leg injury temporarily hindered his progress.
After successful loan spells, he returned to prominence in the 2011–12 season. He joined Juventus in 2019, won a league title, and later moved to Nice in 2022. On July 15, 2023, he rejoined Cardiff City after ending his contract with Nice.
However, before becoming known for scoring goals in the Premier League, Ramsey was a multi-talented athlete known for his prowess in pentathlon and rugby. In 2005, he became the Welsh Schools’ Athletic Association pentathlon champion, showcasing his versatility in various track and field events.
His athletic prowess was evident when he ranked 4th in Great Britain among under-17 athletes in 2006.
Growing up in Wales, Ramsey was deeply involved in rugby, both Rugby Union and Rugby League. He excelled in rugby and played as a winger in the Caerphilly R.F.C.’s youth development program.
His skills on the rugby field caught the attention of scouts from rugby league team St. Helens after an impressive youth match against them. Additionally, Ramsey was invited to trial for the Newport Gwent Dragons in Rugby Union, demonstrating his talent in both codes.
Despite his proficiency in rugby, Ramsey faced a crucial decision in his teenage years: choosing between football and rugby. Ramsey considered rugby as he enjoyed playing fly-half in rugby union, where he excelled in reading the game. However, he ultimately chose football.
“Playing football obviously helped me with striking a ball, and I enjoyed the physical side of it. I think that has helped me overcome my injury problems, but out there on the rugby pitch, I liked things to come through me,” he said in an interview.
With that confidence, had he chosen rugby, we might see his name on betting information for this year’s Rugby’s World Cup.