Cardiff: Chris Coleman said he is more than happy for all the attention to be on Gareth Bale at the European Championship finals in France this month if it enables Aaron Ramsey to thrive in the shadows of the world’s most expensive footballer.
Bale scored seven and set up two of Wales’s 11 goals during qualifying and is very much the star attraction, but Coleman claimed that Ramsey is “as big for us as anyone”.
“All I expect from Aaron [in France] is just to be Aaron Ramsey on the pitch for us, because there’s no one like him,” the Wales manager said.
“He can do things in the position he plays in that other players can’t do. He can start play on the edge of our box and he can finish it off on the edge of the opposition box.
“Some of the performances I’ve seen him put in are total dominance in a football game – the best performances I’ve seen from any Welsh midfielder, and that’s how good he can be.”
Coleman seems likely to deploy Ramsey and Bale alongside one another as two No 10s in a system that gives the Arsenal midfielder more attacking freedom than he has in a club shirt and allows the most talented players in the Wales squad to operate in tandem. “Balo will tell you how good Aaron Ramsey is,” Coleman said.
“Whatever happens at Arsenal or anywhere else, I can only speak about when he comes with us.
“When you’ve got the imagination he has, and you’ve got the confidence he has, when you try something it’s not always going to come off. But when it comes off, he can open doors that nobody else can. He’s as big for us as anyone.”
Asked whether Ramsey can benefit from the spotlight being on Bale, Coleman replied: “Yeah, I think it’s good for him, to be honest with you. Balo doesn’t care, he’s got that personality where he just gets on with it. And it’s good for Aaron; if he’s under the radar he won’t have a problem with that.”
Ramsey is guaranteed to stand out in France come what may after he decided to dye his hair blond. The 25-year-old said he had been “contemplating it for a while” but maintained that his boots will be doing the talking once the tournament gets under way. “I want to make an impression on the field – that is my main target, to help Wales get out of the group stage and then see where we go from there.”