Aaron Ramsey: Fit-again Juventus midfielder to captain Wales in World Cup qualifiers

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales
Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey has scored 17 goals for Wales in 67 appearances
World Cup 2022 qualifying: Czech Republic v Wales
Venue: Sinobo Stadium, Prague Date: Friday, 8 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, plus live text and score updates on the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Match of the Day Wales on BBC One Wales from 23:25 BST.

Aaron Ramsey hopes to put his injury "frustration" behind him when he returns for Wales as captain in Friday's World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.

The Juventus midfielder, 30, has not featured in this campaign and last played for Wales at Euro 2020.

With Gareth Bale out injured, Ramsey will captain the side in Prague and against Estonia in Tallinn on Monday.

"It means everything to me to play for Wales," said Ramsey.

"I am so proud to represent my country.

"I have been as frustrated as anybody else over the amount of game I have missed in the past few years.

"I am happy to be back involved. I am looking forward to these two games - and to lead the boys out will be that extra bit special.

"I have experienced it before and I loved every minute of it and I am sure it will be a very proud moment for me and my family."

Ramsey was appointed Wales captain when he was just 20 years old in 2011, but was replaced by Ashley Williams the following year.

Ramsey has since led his country occasionally when Williams and his successor Bale have been unavailable, most recently against the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League last year.

The Juventus midfielder remains a highly influential figure for Wales. He was named in Uefa's team of the tournament when Wales reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals and was one of their leading lights at the European Championship earlier this year.

But Ramsey continues to be hampered by various injuries for club and country, with Juventus saying last week he had been suffering from "muscle fatigue".

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The former Arsenal midfielder was only able to play in 19 of Wales' 44 games between Euro 2016 and Euro 2020.

The playmaker has previously employed his own fitness coaches to help with his conditioning and suggests he is better suited to Wales' approach.

"The training philosophy and methods are different in my club from here," Ramsey said.

"There are a lot of people here who have a number of years of managing me so they know how to get the best out of me and allow me to play a lot of games in a row, like I showed in the Euros this year.

"I'm capable of doing that and producing good performances. I'm feeling good, ready to go.

"Because my outputs in games are pretty high, maybe I need a bit more rest and recovery throughout the week rather than maybe being on the grass for a long period of time and carrying more fatigue into games.

"Recovery is a big part of that for me. I'm just excited to be back involved and hopefully I can play my part."

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