Archive - Tuesday, 11 November 2008
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Ramsey earns promotion
ARSENAL'S teenage midfield star, Caerphilly born Aaron Ramsey is set to win his first Wales cap in next week's friendly away to Denmark.
Ramsey, who has already played in an FA Cup final and the Champions League with Cardiff and the Gunners respectively, has been called into John Toshack's senior squad for the clash in Copenhagen.
Ramsey, who will be 18 on Boxing Day, has been deliberately held back by Toshack to help the under-21s in their ultimately unsuccessful quest to reach the UEFA Championship finals next summer in Sweden.
Ramsey was outstanding in both recent play-off matches against England and scored a sensational long-range goal in the drawn second leg at Villa Park last month.
Toshack said: "We have had him in our senior squad a few times, but he is very young and there was no desire to rush him into the senior squad.’’ But now the former Cardiff player, who moved to the Emirates Stadium in the summer after turning down Everton and Manchester United, can begin a full international career that many in Wales believe could one day emulate Ryan Giggs.
Ramsey came on as a late substitute in Cardiff's FA Cup final defeat to Portsmouth at Wembley last season, and has already played and scored in the Champions League for the Gunners.
Considering how quickly many Wales youngsters have been fast-tracked under Toshack, it is remarkable that the Caerphilly-born youngster has still to make his full senior debut.
But Toshack now has the opportunity to see what could well be Wales' central midfield partnership for years to come, with Ramsey likely to be paired with West Ham's Jack Collison in the November 19 friendly.
Collison has also made his breakthrough into the Barclays Premier League this season, and scored his first senior goal for the Hammers on Saturday on his home debut in the defeat to Everton.
Collison had figured in four previous away matches, and also impressed in the draw at Middlesbrough the week before.
Collison and Ramsey were the central midfield pair for the under-21s, and will now be given the chance to cement their place in the seniors.
Veterans Carl Robinson and Carl Fletcher are both approaching the end of their international careers, with Collison and Ramsey clearly the future for Wales.
Toshack today named a 21-man squad for the Denmark trip, with Cardiff's Joe Ledley also back after being forced out of the last two World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Germany with a groin problem.
Also recalled is under-21 skipper Neal Eardley, 19, while Toshack has opted for just three strikers. Youngsters Ched Evans and Sam Vokes will compete for the role alongside captain Craig Bellamy up front.
The goalkeeping position will be an interesting fight between young Wolves stopper Wayne Hennessey, currently not in the side at Molineux, and Hull's Boaz Myhill, who has made a big impression in the Premier League this season.
Nottingham Forest's Robert Earnshaw was in the provisional squad but the striker has a hamstring injury and did not figure for the midlanders at the weekend and has been omitted from the party.
Toshack has also left out strikers David Cotterill and Freddy Eastwood, goalkeeper Lewis Price and midfielders Owain Tudur-Jones and Andrew Crofts.
Wales squad for the friendly international against Denmark on November 19 in Copenhagen: Hennessey (Wolves), Myhill (Hull), Bale (Tottenham), Collins (West Ham), Gunter (Tottenham), Eardley (Oldham), Morgan (Peterborough), Nyatanga (Derby), Ricketts (Hull), A Williams (Swansea), Collison (West Ham), S Davies (Fulham), D Edwards(Wolves), Fletcher (Crystal Palace), Koumas (Wigan), Ledley (Cardiff), Ramsey (Arsenal), Vaughan (Blackpool), Bellamy (West Ham), C Evans (Manchester City), Vokes (Wolves).