Ramsey talks improvement, Arsenal ambition & Barcelona

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Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, Aaron Ramsey tackled a range of questions from the media at Arsenal’s London Colney training base.

We’ve transcribed the full press conference (aside from some guff about Wales’ qualifiers) during which he reflected on last year’s winner against Hull City, the squad’s improvement against big sides, the threat posed by Aston Villa and why talk of a move to Barcelona doesn’t interest him.

On scoring the winner last year and looking forward to this year’s final…

I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously playing in the final is where we want to be as professional footballers and it’s another opportunity to win the FA Cup. To score the winner last year was just a dream come true. Hopefully I can repeat that again.

On whether he’s improved as a player this year…

I think I’ve grown up even more and learned some more things. Hopefully I’m always improving throughout my career. That’s what I want to achieve.

On the threat of Christian Benteke…

He’s been in great form of late. It’s been a difficult season for Villa but they did manage to stay up in the end. They’ve shown good form towards the back end of the season and he was in amongst all the goals. He’s going to be a big threat on the day.

On overcoming injuries…

I’ve been through a lot in my career so far and I’m still only 24. There’s still so much to achieve and win so that’s what I’ll be aiming to do. Hopefully we can win something, the FA Cup, and that will be two trophies in two years. Hopefully we can then keep things going.

On last year’s rollercoaster final against Hull…

Obviously we were 2-0 down and starting to question whether it’d be our day. I felt there was a lot of time to get back into the game and obviously the goal before half-time was vital for us – thankfully Santi stuck his free-kick into the top corner and then it wasn’t too far to get back into it. I was thankful in a way that they scored their two goals so early. We started a lot of games slowly up to the final and that was another occasion. That [the goals] gave us the kick that we needed to get going. We managed to score before half-time and then it felt like we were in control of the game. We created a few opportunities to get back into it and we managed to do it before winning in extra-time.

On whether his FA Cup winner is the biggest moment of his career…

Yeah, I think so. It’s definitely up there. To score the winner in an FA Cup final is everybody’s dream. To finally win something after all those years and the pressure that the team was under…it was such a nice feeling and a relief.

On whether last year’s experience is good preparation for this year’s final…

We never make it easy. I’m sure some of the fans would like it to be easier this time. Hopefully that will be the case on Saturday. We’ve experienced what it’s like going a few goals behind but we still believed in ourselves and our ability to get through it. Hopefully it’ll be a bit easier than that and we won’t have to put people through that again. They’re a good team [Villa], very solid and they’ve been in good form, so we’ll have to be aware of that.

Has the club developed more of a winning mentality…

I think so. We’re in another FA Cup final this year and that takes some doing. Back to back finals is not easy to achieve. In the second half of the season we showed the form that you need throughout the season to win this lead. We’ve shown we’re capable of going on these big runs, not losing too many games. If we can just show that consistency throughout the season we’ll be challenging for the Premier League. That’s what we’re looking to do next year and we’ll have a great opportunity of doing that.

On whether an FA Cup victory is necessary to call this a successful season…

It would be fair to say that. I think if we go on to win it would be a successful season. Getting third in the league and not having to qualify for the Champions League, that helps at the beginning of next season.

On what’s changed for Arsenal to be more competitive in fixtures with big teams…

In the past we’ve been a bit too naïve. Maybe we’ve tried to play the way we like to play a bit too much and left ourselves too open. Against quality if you lose the ball high up the pitch you know they’re going to punish you. I think we were of that for a couple of years. This year we’ve been a lot more solid as a team, we haven’t given them so much space to play. We’ve quite competitive and managed to take our chances at the other end. That’s a step forward from last year. The only thing now is to find that consistency.

On whether the squad are as hungry for an FA Cup success as last year…

Yes. We’ve been in the situation before and we won it last year. It’s so important to have that hunger and determination to prove you’re worthy winners. There’s been so many upsets in the FA Cup, just look at the last round; everybody fancied Liverpool to go through and Villa overturned them. It’s not going to be an easy game. We’re going to have to be aware of that, but I’ve seen the lads are even more hungry. We want to win more.

On whether the players have discussed Arsenal becoming the most decorated club in the history of the FA Cup…

Obviously it’d be nice to have that record. It’d be a great achievement for the club and to be involved in that history. A couple of the players are aware of that, but it doesn’t really make a difference. We’d want to go out as a group of players and win no matter what whether it was for the first time or whatever.

On Wenger’s FA Cup record boosting the players’ confidence…

I think he gives us confidence whatever game it is. He’s been very successful in this competition and he’s very experience. Every time we go out on the pitch he gives us the belief that we can go and express ourselves. That’s the best way to repay his faith – to prove what we can do, to be creative and to score lots of goals.

On being linked with a £50 million move to Barcelona…

I dunno. That’s just something that’s been written in the papers.  I’m focused on Arsenal and winning the FA Cup. That sort of news doesn’t affect me or even enter my mind.

On whether a move to Barcelona appeals to him…

No. Not at this time. I’m focusing on the FA Cup. That’s what appeals to me right now.

On the importance of the fans…

As always you love having your supporters behind you. Even though we went 2-0 down last year in the final you could still hear them trying to get us back into the game. I thought they played a major part in that. They’re massive to us. You could see the amount of support we have on the parade with 250,000 fans on the streets and how much it meant to them. We hope we can give them another day to remember.

On whether he keeps his medals…

They’re in my trophy cabinet, which has grown slightly. They’re in my office.

___

Thanks to Tim Stillman for recording the press conference.

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CB
CB

Looking forward to him scoring again in the Final.

Arsene's Zip
Arsene's Zip

Who the f thumbed that down?!

Anonymous Kumquat
Anonymous Kumquat

Tactics Tim probably

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

Spurs fans

David C
David C

I guess some people want Sanchez to score instead?!?!? Are there Villa trolls on this site now?

CB
CB

Barcelona – ‘not at this time’??? So he would at some time…

Transfer speculators, get your teeth into that for the rest of the summer. Happy days.

CB
CB

Wow, lots of thumbs down.

Yesterday everyone loved transfer speculation (see the Vidal thread), today they don’t. Make your minds up!

Naija Gunner
Naija Gunner

I had to read that phrase like three times…and think that he would, may be in the future! He could have just said it like J. Wilshare “never, am sacking my manager”.

Goon
Goon

He is good enough to play for Barcelona. I think he might move in the future; maybe 2 or 3 years from now.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

Haven’t Barca got a transfer ban this summer?

Left
Left

He has an office.

Saffa Gooner
Saffa Gooner

That stood out!

Double98
Double98

I have an office –
Our fathers had a ‘potting shed’ but we escape from our family to the ‘office’
it gets less peat moss on your porn

Ferngunner
Ferngunner

An office? It’s Sir Ramsey now. with a door tag “busy” Sir Ramsey is now going through his facebook and ig pages

Modhabobo
Modhabobo

He has an office?

nooooooooi
nooooooooi

“No. Not at this time.” Oh shit…

diefenbaker
diefenbaker

Relax if Cesc couldnt fit in with his DNA and all. What makes you think Ramsey can.

Chris
Chris

Scene:
Aaron Ramsey is sat behind a splendid mahogany desk in his office, two FA Cup winner’s medals hang beside him. Deep in thought, Ramsey proceeds to tap keeps on his Underwood typrwriter. This continues for a few minutes until the bespectacled midfielder finishes a letter, pulls a single sheet of thick paper from the carriage and reads it to himself, lips moving. He nods approvingly and uses a ring on his little finger to stamp his personal #AR insignia on the letter.

Ramsey: Junior!
[Complete Silence}
Ramsey: JUNIOR! Your father is speaking to you.

A young child enters the beautiful office, tracing his fingers along the books of the huge bookshelf lining one of the walls. He is reluctant to meet the eyes of his father.

Ramsey: Junior, do you know why I have an office?
Junior: (In a whisper) No, father.
Ramsey: Would you care to hazard a guess.
Junior: Well, as a footballer there doesn’t seem much need for one. Is the pitch your office, the training ground your boardroom and Shad Forsythe your PA?
Ramsey: Oh Junior…
Junior: Father?
Ramsey: (Wiping away a tear) Out of the mouths of babes…

FADE OUT

Arsene's Zip
Arsene's Zip

I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany

Double98
Double98

I have many leather-bound girls and my apartment smells of rich monogamy.

* No, i don’t and no, it doesn’t 🙁

ChrisM
ChrisM

I thought that if a player was asked if were interested in a move to another club, by law they had to respond with one of the following:

Obviously I’m flattered…
In football anything can happen…
I’ve always said I’ve admired (team)…

I didn’t think players could just say “no”

CB
CB

Or Aaron’s ‘not at this time’. For me it shows the games that journalists play to get stories. If Barca offered huge amounts of money to Arsenal and large salary to him then it might happen. And the ‘might’ is the killer.

I’d rather wait until it is a fact rather than waste lots of time worrying about it now. Any amount of my chat/worry now won’t affect anything that actually happens.

good 'ol 1-0 to woolwich
good 'ol 1-0 to woolwich

give the lad a break over that comment. I expect we will improve our trophy haul next season and that should be enough to keep him. He sure wants to win things and I bet his first choice will be to win with Arsenal

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

“Barca? But Hleb, Song and Vermalen have all told me it’ll be a terrible decision. Besides, I wouldn’t want to train with racist mcbitey.”

Arsene's Zip
Arsene's Zip

I hear going to Barca is a really good way to get noticed by West Ham, and that they also have a really nice treatment room.

newxieland
newxieland

Still not happy that he’s shuffled on the wing… should always stick him in the middle

gooner4lyfe
gooner4lyfe

Until this time, every Arsenal player who went to barca didn’t end their time there fantastically. Look at hleb, and then our thierry who was told to be no.4 striker when he arrived there. Cesc(snake) who thought he will end his career there & then seeking for us back after realising he wasn’t destiny for barca but the club(or wenger) rejected him then he chose to go to chelski. Look at song too, being loan out to mid-table PL team & his barca’s career might end any time soon. Vermaelen idk what will happen to him in the future at barca.

Aaron please, look at this thing. Don’t ruin your career yet. You’re still way too young to have your career ruined.

Parisian Weetabix
Parisian Weetabix

I just think Ramsey and Barca is a mismatch. I think was it Tim said in his column that Ramsey is an ‘off-the-ball midfielder’. You don’t need to watch Barca regularly to know that they really aren’t a team whose midfielders are supposed to make runs off the ball.

Wilshere and Rosicky would be waaaaay more suited to Barca, so would Cazorla. It’s not that Ramsey isn’t technically gifted, it’s just that it doesn’t typify him. He doesn’t drive through defenses playing wall-passes, and he doesn’t play through balls from deep-lying positions. Nor does he dribble round in circles performing penelopas in midfield to keep possession.

Right now Barca have Suarez, Messi and Neymar causing havoc, and they will do for some time. They need midfielders who can control the game behind those three, not midfielders who will interrupt their rhythm trying to win the game.

Plus Barca have a transfer ban until January 2016. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. To incorporate Ramsey into their team would require a significant style change. And why would a team on course to win the treble for the second time in six years need a style change?

I’m calling bullshit.

Naija Gunner
Naija Gunner

Can’t think of anything now but about the FA cup…..

CB
CB

Hooray.

Thierry Walcott
Thierry Walcott

Ramsey will definitely see this.

MTZ
MTZ

Can Barca even buy players during the summer? I was fairly certain their transfer ban lasts until the January window, so speculating about Barca buying anyone this summer is pure nonsense.

Correct me if I’m wrong though.

badaab
badaab

Does indeed run until January.

Arsenal's Legend
Arsenal's Legend

I bet you will need more office space in a few years to come because you will be messing the whole wall with medals. COYG

winterburn 87
winterburn 87

Barcelona will appeal against the ban yet again n it wouldn’t surprise me if it’ll be overturned, considering how fucked up people who’s in charge with football governing bodies now.

Finsbury Park Gooner
Finsbury Park Gooner

**THREE trophies in two seasons (if we win tomorrow). Everyone else counts the Community Shield, why shouldn’t we?!

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

**FOUR trophies in two seasons after we beat the cunts for the 2015 Charity Shield.

Shubham
Shubham

Tomorrow we need to go ballistic. No letting Villa into the game. Shoot at every opportunity. Guzan will drop a couple of clangers. COYG! 3-0 to the Arsenal!

santori
santori

Ramsey has been brilliant.

Ditto Jack.

Again goes to show the room for improvement within the squad organically.

Those who called for a better striker than Giroud should remember he has tallied the same percentage of goals per appearance as Benteke (and Benzema) in less appearances.

Nor is Welbeck finished product with next season to look forward to.

Considering his age and sentiments upon Walcott, Ramsey, at similar time, Welbeck is set to kick off much like Jack and Ox and Coquelin (all came good around 23yrs, as did Fabregas and Nasri)

Nor should we entirely write off Campbell. Wenger will make a hard assessment this summer. He could do another Coquelin but will depend on opportunity which likely the gaffer will afford with no promise till January. It will then be up to Campbell to take it on a risk or accept the next decent offer this summer.

It is not without design that Wenger has accumulated a substantial amount of 23/24yr olds in the squad. These players show the greatest propensity for growth.

The 25/26yr olds are more established ‘world class’ talents in Ozil and Alexis. Again this is by design in that they are coming into their prime years.

Wenger is no mug in building a squad. This has taken him over 5 seasons to rebuild when he realised his Denilson generation was not going to cut it. It has been hampered by key departures every season until recently.

We are now in the business for the first time this summer of only needing quality over quantity.

Meanwhile, what will help the squad most next season is continued familiarity within.

Ever so well
Ever so well

I think Ramsey is one of the most underrated players in the premiership. He’s the only true box to box midfielder in the league, barring perhaps Henderson who is a platonic year behind him. He’s the only midfielder who has a genuine goal threat (from open play). People forget that when Lampard and Gerrard scored so many from midfield both took pens and had the whole team built around them. If he keeps fit he will, in my opinion, be one of the best midfielders in Europe if he’s not already. I think we should build our midfield around him. Give him the keys.