Ramsey wary of Gunners' season start

LONDON • Aaron Ramsey fears he will not be match fit for the beginning of the new English Premier League football season with Arsenal after his exertions at Euro 2016 for Wales.

The midfielder, who excelled in France, was suspended for his team's 2-0 semi-final defeat by Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday and he will now take 31/2 weeks off.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, normally likes to give his players a four-week break to recharge after a summer international tournament and Ramsey has been told to report back on Aug 1.

Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign against Liverpool on Aug 14. That means that with less than two weeks of pre-season training in his legs, the Welshman is unlikely to be ready.

Wenger has three other players in a similar situation - Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud of France and Germany's Mesut Ozil.

They meet in this morning's (Singapore time) second semi-final in Marseille. The final is in Paris on Sunday.

"I am back on August 1, so I have a few weeks off but, obviously, it kicks off a couple of weeks afterwards," Ramsey said.

"A few years ago, Germany won the World Cup and the German players came in just a few days before the first game of the season, but they missed that.

"He (Wenger) does like to give players a little break and I'll be getting the same treatment. I feel I need a few weeks off now."

Ramsey produced arguably the finest performance of his career in Wales' 3-1 quarter-final win over Belgium, setting up their first ever semi-final appearance at a major tournament.

Despite the disappointment of his ban for a second yellow card, he can reflect on having taken his game to another level.

"Before the tournament, I was really keen to do well and stand up and be noticed," he said. "I feel that I've done that. It helps playing in this team, as well, but I wanted to personally do my best and I think I have."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Ramsey wary of Gunners' season start'. Print Edition | Subscribe