Aaron Ramsey . . . Captain, Leader, Legend And Future Coach

Aaron Ramsey has always had the ability to spot openings others couldn’t see.

It was what marked him out as a 17-year-old when he chose Arsenal ahead of Manchester United on leaving Cardiff City, it was evident when he said farewell to the Gunners for a highly lucrative deal with Juventus over a decade later, and it was obvious again when he took over the Wales captaincy for a second time following the retirement of Gareth Bale, even though his first spell in the role proved difficult.

During a summer when every big name who ever set foot in the Premier League was linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, Ramsey bucked the predicted trend by returning to Wales and his hometown club.

Now, he is looking further ahead again to a day when his playing days are over, and a coaching career beckons.

“It’s still early days for me, but I’m definitely going to do my coaching badges now that I’m back home,” says Ramsey, who has one of the most successful and respected coaching courses close by at the FAW’s Dragon Park base.

“I still feel like I’ve got a lot more years to play yet. That’s what I’m fully focused on.”

The coaching ambitions – however far down the road at this stage – have been sparked by seeing what his old Arsenal teammate Mikel Arteta has been doing at the Gunners.

Arteta himself cut his teeth as a coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, another who has ignited Ramsey’s interest in moving in that direction.

“Arsenal are in good hands with Mikel Arteta,” says Ramsey.

“I played with Mikel and you could see his intensity and the way that he talked about the game, the way he saw the game, that he was destined to become a manager.

“Then, to be able to learn as an understudy to one of the best managers of all time in Pep Guadiola has given him a lot of insight and knowledge that not many people would have.

“Having said that, he has brought in his own style to Arsenal, put his own take on it. That mixture is only going to be good for Arsenal and help them to win a few things.

“They had an unbelievable season last year, didn’t they? For them to be back in the Champions League having finished second to arguably one of the best teams there has ever been in the Premier League, is no mean fate.”


As he approaches his 33rd birthday in December, and with almost 500 matches on the clock, it was felt by some that Ramsey’s influence might not be that evident when he opted to return to a Cardiff side who struggled last season in the Championship.

Instead, he has been the Bluebirds’ driving force in the opening weeks of the campaign and was the man who inspired them to their first derby victory over rivals Swansea City in five attempts.

Ramsey signed a two-year contract when he opted to end his time in France with Nice, meaning any permanent switch to coaching will not come until at least the end of next season.

That gives Cardiff two bites at the promotion cherry whilst their favourite son is in their ranks and so far, the midfielder who left in 2008 is loving every minute of his home-coming.

“I’m delighted to be back here, back home, back around familiar faces and I just feel like there’s a weight lifted off my shoulders.

“Being back home around the family and then coming to play for Cardiff again has been great. My boyhood club means everything to me. Hopefully, I can now help them as much as I can to try and get them back and to hopefully compete at the highest level again.

“I know how difficult this league is, even though I played in it many years ago, but I know what it’s about. It’s a long, hard season, but there’s no question we have quality in this team.

“I’m in amongst it, so I know that there’s a lot there that this team has and can achieve this season. The question is, can we put it all together for the duration. Mentally, it is quite challenging, and I think that will be an important factor for us throughout the season.

“We have to be relentless, we have to be mentally on it every single game, week in, week out. We’ll also need our fans in order to have an unbelievable season. It will be a fairytale one if it ends that way.”

Cardiff not only signed Ramsey this summer, but also added his seven-year-old son Sonny to their junior age ranks.

Given Ramsey senior still holds the record as the club’s youngest first team player, breaking John Toshack’s old record when he came on against Hull City in a 1-0 home defeat at the age of 16 years and 123 days on 28 April 2007, everyone will be hoping Sonny is a chip off the old block.

“It was a really proud moment for me, for the family and obviously for Sonny as well. I know what that felt like when I was a similar age to him signing my first deal,” added Ramsey.

“It was a really nice moment and a nice touch as well from Cardiff to make that happen. He’s really excited and he’s really keen.

“He drags me down to the pitches most evenings now to train. He’s enjoying it and that’s the main thing at this age, that he has a smile on his face while he’s playing, and he’s certainly doing that.”

Should Cardiff climb the table and enter the promotion picture this season, then he won’t be the only one smiling.