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Ramsey aims for 100 Wales caps

Aaron Ramsey has his sights set on joining the ‘100-cap club’, boss Rob Page has said.

Ramsey’s ambitions to reach 100 caps has greatly influenced his choice to continue playing for Wales on the international stage.

The 32-year-old replaced Gareth Bale as Wales captain following his retirement from international football, and is now the most capped player in the squad – with formed title holder Chris Gunter retiring along with Joe Allen and Jonny Williams.

Rob Page has said Ramsey didn’t consider retiring along with his former team-mates.

“It’s the right thing to give him the armband, he deserves it.” the Welsh coach said.

“He’s been through a lot for Wales over the years, the important goals he’s scored for us.

“Aaron is going to lead us now, he’s been part of this group since day one.”

Currently, only Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale and Wayne Hennessey have hit 100 caps for Wales.

Page continued: “I think it could be a motivation for any player, you would want that milestone of getting to 100 caps.”

“But for me I’ve got to strip the emotions out of it. I’ve got a world-class footballer – and on his day he is definitely a world-class footballer – and I’m going to use him while I’ve got him.

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“He is still capable of winning games of football for us and could help us qualify for the Euros.”

Ramsey will captain Wales following the retirement of Gareth Bale

Ramsey will guide Wales into their opening games in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, where they face Croatia on Saturday, 25th March and Latvia on Tuesday, 28th March.

It won’t be the first time Ramsey has captained the squad though – as the current Nice player was made initially made captain by the late Gary Speed – before being replaced by Ashley Williams in 2012 under Chris Coleman.

Ramsey was “hurt” by the decision to be stripped of the captaincy earlier in his career – but Page emphasises that his recent appointing of the role fills him with honour.

“All the experience he has had in between, it makes him better equipped,” Page said.

“That was part of my reasoning as well, I was a supporter myself then, watching it all unfold.

“I’ve been a captain all my life and to have been given the armband and then had it taken off you would have maybe hurt him a little bit.

“He’s in the right time of his career now to go and represent Wales and lead the boys and show those young players what it is all about, what it means to represent your country, and he is relishing it.”

Page has reassured that Ramsey is making his presence known already.

“He’s been on the phone to us every other day,” he said.

“He constantly wants to challenge things and asks how we can make things better.

“He’s really enjoying the role and has embraced every minute so far of being the captain.

“He was really appreciative of it, it means the world to him.

“He was in France at the time with his wife when I broke the news to him and he was elated, and he sent me a lovely message afterwards saying how proud he was for him and his family.

“That’s why I know he’s going to step up to the plate and absolutely deliver.”

Despite this, Page knows he has to keep an eye on Ramsey’s playing time at club level – but this didn’t influence the captaincy decision.

“Can he play at the top, top level, two consecutive games in a week? Probably not, we will have to manage that,” Page said.

“He will put himself forward to do that but as a manager I’m paid to make these decisions and I’ll make decisions that are right for the group.

“But with his quality, I’ve said this in the past, I would pay to watch him train.

“He’s incredible and while he is still playing top football he’s got a lot to give us and we are going to hang onto him for as long as we can.”