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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

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Ramsey envies Wilshere's meteoric rise

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey admits it's difficult for him not to feel a little jealous about the rise to prominence of team-mate Jack Wilshere, ahead of the pair's international meeting at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

• Ramsey to captain Wales
• Carter: Arsenal duo fight for spotlight
• Preview: Wales v England

Ramsey is slowly working his way into first-team contention again at the Emirates Stadium, but will be handed a starting berth and the captain's armband by Wales coach Gary Speed this weekend, ensuring he goes head-to-head wilth Wilshere, who will be marshalling England's midfield in the European Championship qualifier.

Had Ramsey not been sidelined 13 months ago with a broken leg it may have been he, not Wilshere, who emerged as Arsene Wenger's preferred option in the middle of the park and the 20-year-old Welshman says it is tough not to wonder what might have been.

Asked whether he has watched Wilshere's emergence with a hint of envy, Ramsey said: "Absolutely. I thought before my injury I was just starting to kick on.

"I started six or seven games on the bounce and I felt like I was going to stake a claim for a place in the starting XI for Arsenal but these things happen.

"I've just got to bounce back now. I'm confident in my ability and that I'm capable of playing week in week out for Arsenal so, hopefully, I can do that now."

Ramsey admits he faces a tough fight to displace Wilshere in the Gunners starting line-up, but is happy to acknowledge that his English team-mate deserves his place having produced some superb displays this season.

"He's done well," Ramsey said. "He went out on loan last season and I think that helped him. He's put in some really good performances for Arsenal this season. In training he's no different to what you see in matches. He's very comfortable on the ball and he's a good player."

It will be Ramsey's first international outing since November 2009, when he starred in a 3-0 victory against Scotland, and the former Cardiff City starlet hopes to make a similar impression against England.

"I think the whole team played well on the day and it was a very positive result for us," Ramsey said. "I've been off for a year and it's been difficult to watch the games. But I'm glad to back now and part of it again. I had a couple of loan spells and I feel like I'm really back to where I was.

"I just want to look forward to the future and what I can do for the rest of the season. Hopefully, I'll be playing a lot more games and show what I'm actually capable of and prove to people that you can come back from injuries like this and still be the same player.

"I'm just looking forward to this game at the weekend. We have all our players fit and ready to go. There has been a lot of change here and hopefully we can now put it all together and really give it a good go and have a good result at the end of it.

With Gareth Bale out injured, much rests on the shoulders of Ramsey and Craig Bellamy, but the Arsenal midfielder insists he is ignoring the media hype and just focusing on playing to the best of his ability at the Millennium Stadium.

"Obviously we want to do well for our country and play a part in what will hopefully be a great result for us on the weekend," Ramsey said. "But I'm sure we don't feel the pressure. We're just concentrating on the job we have to do. You just have to concentrate on your own game.

"Although it's one of the best teams in the world, you don't want to be scared or overawed by the occasion. You just have to concentrate on your own game and hopefully I can do that. I treat all opponents the same. I've played in some big games for Arsenal and there have been good players that have played against me."

  • Ramsey to captain Wales

    Midfielder Aaron Ramsey has been named as the new Wales captain, manager Gary Speed has announced. The 20-year-old will take the armband for the first time in Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against England in Cardiff.

    Speed said: ''Aaron Ramsey will be captain. I thought about it a lot. As I have mentioned before, it is about the future and planning ahead. here were two or three candidates. I thought about what is best for the team going forward.

    ''I spoke to Aaron before making the decision and told him there were certain responsibilities and duties that would go with it, and to see if he was happy with it.

    ''I'm delighted and he was really happy. I made the decision because I thought it was best for the team and the future of the team.''

    The vacancy for a new captain arose after Craig Bellamy asked not to be considered due to a long-term knee complaint that will prevent him playing every game. Ramsey is a surprise choice although there has never been any doubt about his status within the team, despite his long lay-off.

    Defenders James Collins and Ashley Williams, who have both previously led the side in Bellamy's absence, were thought to have been the main contenders.

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