In the beginning there was Aaron Ramsey - an 18-year-old Welshman with exceptional promise. He transferred to Arsenal in 2008 from Cardiff City who received £4.8million for the securement of his services.
The young midfielder quickly broke into the first team – making his debut in a Champion’s League qualifier against FC Twente and the rest, as they say, was history. He found himself a regular spot in Arsenal’s first-team, proving himself a valuable asset with his goals and assists.
Enter Ryan Shawcross. On February 27th 2010, Stoke City’s Shawcross’s horrendous tackle resulted in double-fracture to his right leg. That game at the Britannia Stadium was to be Ramsey’s last for the season.
He didn’t return to first-team action for Arsenal until more than a year later – his first start back came against West Brom in March 2011.
Meanwhile, there was a young man named Jack Wilshere who was also an exceptionally gifted young midfielder.
A year younger than Ramsey, the Englishman made his debut for Arsenal back in September 2008 but, at just 16 years old he was considered too inexperienced for a regular place in the side and was sent out on loan to Bolton Wanderers, where he spent the best part of the 2009/10 season.
Wilshere made his breakthrough as an Arsenal first-team regular in the 2010/11 campaign, filling the void left by the injured Ramsey. The Englishman showed incredible maturity in an array of dominant midfield performances, including one against Barcelona in which he was astounding.
He, subsequently, earned himself a place in the England national team, making his senior debut in August 2010, where he came on to replace Steven Gerrard.
The player has since been the subject of excitement from both fans and players alike – a testament to his potential to become one of the greatest players of his generation.
Aaron Ramsey’s full return to fitness narrowly missed coinciding with a devastating injury to Wilshere. Arsene Wenger called the injuries to his ankle and then knee “career threatening” and he underwent two surgeries in 2011 to fix the complaint.
Wilshere made his return in an U21 match last Monday evening after 14 months out. During which time, Aaron Ramsey’s performances last season saw him struggle to fill the boots of the departed Cesc Fabregas. The Welshman struggled to find form after his return from injury and, subsequently, has appeared mostly from the bench so far this season.
However, his late goal on Wednesday night was superb and perhaps signalled a change of fortunes for the 21-year-old. But with Wilshere’s imminent return to first-team action, Arsene Wenger may have yet another selection headache on his hands.
image: © wonker