Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes there are “no limits” to the heights Aaron Ramsey can scale in his career, as he prepares to return to his former club Cardiff City for the first time on Saturday.
Ramsey, 22, left his Welsh homeland to sign for the Gunners in 2008, and he has burst into prominence this season with a string of match-winning displays to help fire the club to the top of the Premier League and towards the last 16 of the Champions League.
Ahead of the midfielder’s return to Cardiff at the weekend, Wenger has suggested Ramsey’s sparkling form this term should merely be viewed as natural progress for a player who came under fire from sections of the Arsenal faithful after his indifferent displays last season.
“He is a young player and there is a lot more to come from him,” Wenger said. “There is no limitation to his development, he can be a complete midfielder. Efficient defensively, efficient offensively, that is what real football players are.
“I saw him on tape when he played with Cardiff. The first time I met him was in Switzerland, with his parents, when he had a choice to make and I was at the European Championship [Euro 2008]. After that, he decided to come and join us and the rest you know. I expect him to continue to improve, of course.”
Wenger suspects he may need Ramsey to be at his best against his former club on Saturday, with the Arsenal boss full of praise for the efforts of Malky Mackay and his team ahead of the trip to Wales.
“They have surprised me,” Wenger said of Cardiff. “They look to have good solidarity, good togetherness, fantastic support as well. They are all on the same wavelength in the team and very efficient, on set-pieces especially.
“Even on Sunday when they were 2-1 down against Man United, many teams think, ‘it’s Man United we won’t come back’, but you always had the feeling that they don’t give up and will come back. They have that special attitude and belief in the side that makes them dangerous.
“It is fantastic what they have done. I watched their game against Man United last Sunday and [it showed] what has changed in the Premier League as that didn’t happen 10 years ago. The teams who come up from the Championship fight with the top, top teams on the possession front. That shows how much the game has improved in the lower leagues.
“Cardiff beat [Manchester] City at home, they played a very good game against Man United, where the possession was 50-50. The challenge for us is to do better. We have warning of the performances they put in against the big teams, so we are in a position where we have a difficult challenge and also an exciting challenge because we can do better.”
With most of their title rivals playing on Sunday, Arsenal have a chance to open up a seven-point gap at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday -- a challenge that Wenger is eager to take advantage of.
“We have that opportunity [to go seven points clear] and we want to grab it,” he said. “At the moment, we are in a position where we don’t look at other results, just our results. That is a luxury and we want to take advantage of that.”
Wenger confirmed he has no fresh injuries concerns ahead of Saturday’s game, but concedes the lack of depth in his squad means he “will be in trouble” if he picks up injuries to key players ahead of a hectic schedule in December.
"In our job you are always cautious [about a dip in form] because it’s all fragile,” he said. “What gives you a guarantee is the attitude of the players. The players at the moment keep a good focus and that is a good guarantee against failures. We want to give the same energy and hunger, and also improve as there is still room for improvement."