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Aaron Ramsey ‘still has a lot to offer’ – Rob Page

ROB PAGE, the manager of Cymru, has encouraged captain Aaron Ramsey to focus on preparing for another demanding Championship season with Cardiff City. Ramsey, aged 33, endured a season plagued by injuries for both his club and country after rejoining the Bluebirds last summer. Following Cymru’s exit from Euro 2024 in a play-off final penalty shootout loss to Poland, there was speculation about Ramsey contemplating his future in international football. However, Page assured BBC Cymru Sport, ” He is our captain at this moment in time, he wants to get his body into a position where he is fit and can cope with the demands of Championship football which is not easy.

“If he can do that I have no doubt he will carry on.”

Ramsey, a three-time FA Cup victor with Arsenal and a Serie A champion with Juventus, made merely seven starts and six substitute appearances for Cardiff in the last term, netting three goals. His involvement in Euro 2024 was limited to two outings, and although he was part of the squad for the play-off matches against Finland and Poland, he did not feature due to a recent return from injury. With 21 goals in 84 caps for Cymru, Ramsey’s frustration with last season’s injuries is palpable, according to Page. “We will have that conversation when the time is right.

“But right now he is looking forward to getting fighting fit and getting his body in a position where he can play and have the demands of a domestic season with Cardiff two games a week. If he can do that then no doubt he will continue.”

With Cymru scheduled for friendlies against Gibraltar and Slovakia next month, Ramsey’s inclusion in the squad, set to be announced at the end of May, remains uncertain. Tottenham Hotspur defender Ben Davies, who stood in as captain during Ramsey’s absence, is also questionable for the summer tour due to a calf injury that sidelined him for the final five matches of Spurs’ Premier League campaign. Page acknowledged Davies’ status as “touch and go” for the friendlies and emphasised the importance of not overburdening players post a strenuous season.

Reflecting on Cymru’s Euro 2024 elimination, Page admitted the disappointment but highlighted the progress made. “It was undoubtedly a bitter pill to swallow, but reaching the cusp of qualification speaks volumes about our advancement. Although we fell short, our trajectory is promising. We are in a transitional phase, integrating young talents to bolster the squad for the future.”

Despite scrutiny following the Poland defeat, Page’s position as Cymru manager remains secure, affirmed publicly by the Football Association of Cymru (FAC), with whom he holds a contract until the next World Cup. Expressing gratitude for the backing received, Page reiterated his commitment to nurturing young talents within the squad.

Page shared these sentiments during an event in Manchester, where representatives from all four home nations united to support a new initiative aimed at facilitating coaching opportunities for individuals from low-income backgrounds. Under this programme, Chase Bank will fund access to coaching qualifications and professional bursaries. Page encouraged aspiring coaches in Cymru to seize this opportunity, underscoring the potential benefits for Welsh football.