Wales' Aaron Ramsey

New Wales captain Aaron Ramsey. Pic: Getty Images.

Aaron Ramsey Looks To The Future . . . And Urges Wales Kids To Seize Their Chance in Croatia

By David Williams

New captain Aaron Ramsey wants Wales’ young generation to create their own history after the departures of Gareth Bale and other talismanic figures.

Nice star Ramsey has taken over the captaincy for the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign after Bale ended his illustrious career in January.

Chris Gunter, Joe Allen and Jonny Williams, also part of the Wales squad who reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, have retired from the international scene as manager Rob Page ushers in a new era for Welsh football.

With Wales preparing to kick off their Euro 2024 qualification campaign in Croatia on Saturday, Ramsey said: “Gareth, Joe, Jonny, Gunts have been instrumental for us over the years and will forever be a part of Welsh history.

“We will be forever grateful for what they brought to this team, this nation, and we’ll miss those players around the place.

“But football is forever changing and there’ll be opportunities now for these younger players to step up and show what they’re capable of.

“Hopefully now we can create our own history.”

Ramsey, who has 78 caps for his country, takes over the captaincy on a full-time basis again over 11 years after losing the job.

The 32-year-old was appointed skipper in March 2011 at the tender age of 20 but lost the role 18 months later when then-manager Chris Coleman gave the armband to Ashley Williams after a 6-1 defeat to Serbia.

He added: “It’s been a long time since I last had it, a lot has changed in that period of time.

“I was 20 years old and it was a very unusual experience at the time, but one that I’ll be forever grateful for from Gary [Speed].

“But I’ve learnt a lot over the years and now I feel like I’m ready for this. It’s a really proud moment for me and my family, and hopefully it can be a very successful time for us.”

Asked whether he had considered his future in the game, Ramsey said: ‘It was a very difficult time after the World Cup. We did so well to finally get to the finals and to experience that, but it was a very strange World Cup.

“I think a lot of things naturally went through your mind afterwards, but after a bit of time to digest it all you’re ready to go again.

“I’ve come back at club level, we’ve been doing really well, I’ve been enjoying my football and I’m playing well. There’s a lot to look forward to.

“Football is forever changing. There’ll be opportunities now younger players to step up and show what they’re capable of. We’ll miss the players who have retired but we’re excited for the future.’

“I’ve played under some great captains as well, including Ashley Williams and Gareth Bale.

“There are bits that you take from a lot of these captains over the years and try to add them to your captaincy now.

“It’s a really proud moment for me and my family and hopefully it can be a very successful time for us. After the World Cup I spent a lot of time with them, it was important to switch off from football and be a dad and a husband again for that little period of time.

“Now I get to tell my boys I’m going to be captain of Wales, they were very proud, my eldest especially was very excited and happy for me. For them to be able to see that and experience that with me will be very special.”

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