• Premier League

Wenger: Pep talk saved Ramsey's career

ESPN staff
July 25, 2014
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Arsene Wenger has revealed how he helped save Aaron Ramsey from being hounded out of Arsenal by pulling his midfielder aside for a frank heart-to-heart talk 18 months ago.

Ramsey was in scintillating form last season before an injury in December saw him miss almost four months, but he returned to score the extra-time winner in the FA Cup final against Hull - securing Arsenal's first trophy in nine years.

His 16 goals in 34 games provided a marked contrast to the previous season at the Emirates Stadium, where he was roundly booed by his own fans after several poor displays.

Aaron Ramsey scored Arsenal's extra-time winner in the FA Cup final © Getty Images

"Aaron went through a really bad patch and it reached the point where I couldn't play him at the Emirates Stadium any more," Wenger is quoted as saying in the Sun.

"So towards the end of the 2012-13 season I sat down with him and told him 'it's not because people don't like you, it's because they don't like your game at the moment'.

"It was in Aaron's hands to change that. He had to go back to playing a more simple game. When you go through a bad patch in life, you always go back to basics.

"In football, you slowly get your confidence back and then you start to play naturally again.

"The problem is that if you play a great shot in golf or tennis, you want to play the same shot again and again. But it doesn't work like that. You have to do basics, basics, basics, and then slowly you get into the zone where it becomes easier.

"Aaron accepted that advice, he did what we asked of him and he regained his confidence. As a result of that, you saw a different player last season. Because he is an intelligent guy, as soon as I came out of our meeting I knew that he would come back as a player.

"But he only did that because he listened and he realised that he had to change."

Ramsey - winner of Arsenal's player of the year award last season - could be set to take centre stage for the start of the season after the announcement that Mesut Ozil, along with fellow Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, will be given an extended break following Germany's World Cup triumph.

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