By Paul Jones
Aaron Ramsey has admitted that last year’s World Cup finals campaign was a massive disappointment for Wales, but he is confident they can continue to make amends in their Euro qualification bid.
The Wales captain will lead his county when they host Armenia in Cardiff on Friday before heading to Turkey three days later, having made a positive start to Euro 2024 qualifying.
Rob Page’s side picked up four points from their opening two games in March, drawing away to World Cup semi-finalists Croatia before beating Latvia at home.
Big week 🏴 pic.twitter.com/qx5ruaYyUF
— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) June 12, 2023
It was rapid recovery from the dismal campaign in Qatar where Wales failed win a game and crashed out of the tournament finals in the pool stages.
Ramsey said: “This is a massive camp for us. The World Cup was a huge disappointment for us, and it was important to get off to a good start.
“To bounce back straightaway in those two games sets us up nicely.
“It’s huge now to back that up against Armenia. It’s a game we need to win and all our attention is on that.”
🤔 “I’m not sure what my future is.”
🗣️ “There’s always rumours, there’s always that bit of noise.”
⏳ “My focus is on Friday, I’ll have to keep you waiting a little bit longer.”
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 12, 2023
Ramsey, 32, missed Nice’s last four games of the season in France with a calf problem.
But he is confident of playing roles against both Armenia and Turkey, saying: “The last couple of weeks I did not play, but before that I had a good run of games.
“I got myself in good shape so there’s not too much to be worried about.
“I’ve had a good season and we had a bit of a European run as well. I’m 100 per cent ready to play to help us win.”
Ramsey insists his focus is fully on Wales’ Euro 2024 ambitions amid uncertainty over his Nice future.
The former Cardiff City, Arsenal and Juventus player has triggered a one-year contract extension at Nice after playing more than 30 games for the Ligue 1 club this season.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 9, 2023
But it has been reported in the French media that the 32-year-old midfielder wants a longer deal to stay at Nice and that may not be forthcoming.
“I’m not sure what my future is at the moment,” Ramsey said ahead of Wales’ Euro 2024 double-header against Armenia and Turkey.
“The most important thing is for me to focus on these games.
“We will find out in a few weeks’ time, when everything has settled down a bit.
“My full focus is on Friday (against Armenia). I’ll have to keep you guys (the press) waiting a bit longer.”
Ramsey says his family, who have stayed in Cardiff while he has played in France and travelled to and from Wales, will be instrumental in the decision over his playing future.
It has led to speculation that Ramsey could return to Cardiff this summer, the Sky Bet Championship club where he began his career before moving to Arsenal in 2008 and spending 11 seasons in north London.
Heading into another international week here’s a reminder of how Wales’ European qualifying table stands 👀
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 11, 2023
That particular rumour mill went into overdrive last week when Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman told supporters to expect an “exciting” signing this summer.
Ramsey said: “There’s always rumours going around, isn’t there? There is always that bit of noise.
“This season has been a success for me personally, I played a lot of games and some good football. The only thing missing was a few goals, but that will come again.
“The most challenging thing is being away from my family. That’s the situation I find myself in.
“I’ve been away from my family and seeing the kids growing up, missing out, it’s always difficult. Difficult for anyone to go through, I imagine.
“Whatever we do going forward, we will be reunited and back together.”
Many thanks to @HardingEvans – solicitors based in Cardiff & Newport – for supporting Issue 31. Grab your copy for Armenia & Turkey from https://t.co/A04to1v25z. Diolch am eich cefnogaeth. #Cymru #WalesAway⚽️🏴🇦🇲✈️🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/cON7rsdjI1
— International.Wales (@IntWales) June 12, 2023