Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has given an exclusive interview to the Daily Mail in which he talks about his love of rugby, how he believes that his rugby ability has helped him on the football pitch and how he recovered from the horror leg break he experienced at the feet of Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross when he was only 19.
‘The mental side was the biggest factor. It might take just a few games to get back into it physically but mentally it takes a lot longer to overcome what I went through.
‘It definitely took a couple of years; to go into tackles full-hearted. Things go through your mind on the pitch.
‘When you go into a tackle you wouldn’t go in 100 per cent, and it affects your whole game. It certainly affected my game.’
‘It was definitely a combination of the two [time and a sports psychologist], but time was a big factor… and knowing that my leg was fine; of going into the tackle and coming out of it. I wasn’t afraid of the pain.
‘I guess my concern was suffering another setback. I feel I’ve achieved something, coming back the way I have.
‘As soon as I overcame the mental barrier and rediscovered my confidence, I was fine.’
Ramsey has been, without a doubt, the standout midfielder this season, not only in England but probably Europe as well. It is form which he carried over from the end of last season when he helped Arsenal steal in to fourth place and secure Champions League football for yet another year.
Never one to hide on the pitch, Ramsey endured a torrid few years – from the broken leg, to liosing his mentor and father figure Gary Speed to suicide before having to endure having the captaincy of his country, which Speed had given him, being taken away. Many lesser people would have broken under half that strain but Ramsey has come back stronger than ever and will be looking to help Arsenal end their wait for silverware this season.by