Wenger: Too much pressure on Ramsey
Published 07/05/2011 | 07:42
Arsene Wenger has no worries about throwing Aaron Ramsey into the thick of the action at Stoke on Sunday, but feels the Wales youngster could have done without the added pressure of captaining his country against England so soon after recovering from a career-threatening injury.
The 20-year-old was out for nine months after suffering a double leg fracture following a tackle by Ryan Shawcross at the Britannia Stadium last season, but marked his return to regular first team action for the Gunners with the winner in last weekend's 1-0 win over Manchester United.
"I am very, very happy for Aaron, but I feel the Welsh period came a bit early for him," said Wenger.
Ramsey had loan spells at former club Cardiff and Nottingham Forest to help build up his match fitness, and Wenger would rather have had the youngster complete his rehabilitation out of the spotlight instead of being named Wales' new permanent captain - the youngest in the Principality's history - by Gary Speed ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifying clash in Cardiff on March 26.
The Gunners boss added: "It was a bit too much pressure on him after not being completely ready himself. At that stage, he had to focus on his own shape and all the duties of a captain. It was a period where he needed more time to focus on his own performance and he was a bit too much under pressure for that. Now I feel he is nearly there."
Wenger feels Ramsey can only grow stronger for the whole experience and important he played at Stoke again sooner rather than later.
"The earlier the better, because there will always be a question mark about that," he added. "At the end of the day you focus on football and you play. It is like if you have a car accident you do you never drive again? Of course you drive again and the earlier the better."
Another of Wenger's youngsters, Jack Wilshere is set for a busy summer, having been named in the England Under-21s squad for the European Championships, and also expected to be used for the seniors in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley in early June.
While the Arsenal manager accepts ultimately there is little he can do to prevent the 19-year-old extending his season, Wenger hopes the FA will use common sense over Wilshere's development, and added: "If he goes to the under-21s I will have to give him a long rest. He will not be ready to play at the start of August or maybe at the beginning of September."
Wenger will be faced with some tough decisions this summer, as he looks to get his young squad over the line in 2012 having again come so close to silverware. Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, Andrey Arshavin and Gael Clichy have all been linked with moves away.