Belfast Telegraph

Aaron Ramsey welcomes Arsene Wenger's new Arsenal deal

Aaron Ramsey has welcomed Arsene Wenger's new contract and says the entire Arsenal squad are happy that the Frenchman is staying at the club.

Wenger signed a two-year deal to remain as Arsenal boss after their third FA Cup success in four seasons, but the club's hierarchy has demanded a sustained push for the Premier League title.

Ramsey became the first frontline Arsenal player to speak out in support of Wenger and believes the Gunners can now push on in the pursuit of further honours.

"It is hard when all that speculation is going on," Ramsey said of the intense debate surrounding Wenger's future over the last few months.

"As a player, you try to put it to the back of your mind but obviously you are not sure what is happening.

"We're glad now that it has finally been announced he's staying. We're all happy.

"Hopefully now we can start the season strongly and have a real good go, not just for ourselves but for him as well."

Wenger had come in for fierce criticism from pundits, supporters and former players during the second half of last season as Arsenal slipped out of the Premier League top four and were thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

But Arsenal won nine of their last 10 games, culminating with their record-breaking 13th FA Cup final success against Chelsea.

It was a run which saw Wenger defy those who criticise the 67-year-old for his perceived tactical inflexibility.

Wenger moved away from his traditional flat back-four to playing three central defenders and two wing-backs.

That tactical change allowed Ramsey more freedom in a central midfield area and the Welshman responded with a cup final winner.

"I think that system suited us in the end, it showed with the way we finished the season and winning the cup in that formation," Ramsey said.

"It suits the team, it gives us a lot more security defensively, not so suspect to counter-attacks. But also it frees players up to do more things, get into more dangerous positions.

"I'm confident it will and I scored a few goals at the end of the season. It allowed me to get into some dangerous positions and thankfully I put them away."

Ramsey suffered an injury-hit campaign after impressing so much for Wales last summer that he was named in the Euro 2016 team of the tournament.

But the 26-year-old finished the season strongly and scored for the third successive game on Sunday as Wales held Serbia 1-1 in their World Cup qualifier.

"I'm disappointed the season's finishing," Ramsey said.

"I wish it was another 10, 15 games.

"I'm happy with my form, so hopefully I can go into next season now with the same form."

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