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Arsenal's decision to play Aaron Ramsey puzzles Wales boss Chris Coleman

Published 24/08/2016

Chris Coleman is 'fully focused' on Wales' World Cup qualifying campaign after Hull's interest
Chris Coleman is 'fully focused' on Wales' World Cup qualifying campaign after Hull's interest

Chris Coleman has expressed his surprise Aaron Ramsey was in the Arsenal team on the opening weekend of the season to suffer the injury which has ruled him out of Wales' World Cup opener.

Ramsey played in Arsenal's 4-3 Premier League defeat to Liverpool on August 14, having only been back in training a fortnight after helping Wales reach the semi-final of Euro 2016.

Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny were allowed extra time to recover after Euro 2016 and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's decision to play Ramsey backfired when the Wales midfielder suffered a hamstring injury to sideline him for a month.

Ramsey will now miss the Moldova game on September 5 and Wales boss Coleman - who had a public spat with Wenger last November when the 25-year-old picked up an injury - said he was taken aback by the situation.

"I think we all expected Aaron to (miss the start of the season), so I don't know what happened between then and when he ended up on the pitch," said Coleman.

"Obviously only Arsenal can answer that.

"I think, to a man, if you were looking at that (team-sheet), it was a bit of a surprise he started.

"I think Aaron said himself (in France) that he wasn't expecting to.

"If you look at his physical stats, they are higher than anybody on the pitch in terms of his high-intensity sprints and the kilometres he covers.

"But he's still a human being, and it's not like we were knocked out in the group stage.

"It was a long tournament for Aaron, after a long, hard season. So I don't know why he was treated differently."

Coleman accused Wenger of "a cheap shot" last season after the Frenchman blamed Wales for Ramsey suffering a hamstring strain in a Champions League tie against Bayern Munich - a week after he had played for his country

Wenger said Wales could have rested Ramsey for their final Euro 2016 game against Andorra after securing qualification, but Coleman said there had been no contact from Arsenal and he took that as a "green light" to play him.

"I think Arsenal have a certain way of doing things," said Coleman.

"A lot has been said about their injury list, they're doing the same things now as what they've always done - they're not going to change now.

"That's up to them, Aaron is Arsenal's player. But I've got to say that I'm disappointed because we've lost a great player - and I think anyone would understand that disappointment.

"I'm not going to say, 'In hindsight', because I'm doing a job myself and I make decisions and sometimes look back and think I shouldn't have made that decision.

"So I won't use that against Arsenal. Could it have been prevented?

"Possibly, yes. But the fact is we haven't got him, unfortunately."

Coleman says he is "fully focused" on Wales' World Cup campaign after turning down the chance to become a Premier League manager.

Promoted Hull wanted Coleman to fill their managerial vacancy earlier this month, and the 46-year-old admitted that his "head ad been turned" by an offer which would have significantly increased his salary.

"I am human and when you get interest from a club in the best league of the world then you think about it," said Coleman.

"But I thought 'I want to go to a World Cup with Wales'. To leave now would not have sat well with me.

"Everyone has their head turned, including me, but this is Wales.

"It is my country and that means more to me than any club I will ever manage.

"I was flattered but, whatever happens I think I have made the right choice. I am desperate to see us achieve."

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