agoonersdream (dreamfight3r) wrote in aaron_ramsey,

Aaron James Ramsey, I adore you

Rugby League: Josh Ramsey follows brother Aaron in making his sporting mark

It’s a long way from the City of Manchester Stadium to Glan-yr-Afon Park in Blackwood.

Just ask Aaron Ramsey.

On Thursday evening, the Arsenal and Wales star was sitting in the main stand at the Welsh League Division One club watching brother Josh play rugby league for Wales Under-18s against the Australian Institute of Sport.

Nobody knew of his presence, courtesy of a strategically-placed hat complete with ear flaps that made him look every inch one of the locals.

But Rambo was there all right, his commitment to watching his younger sibling remarkable considering that just 24 hours earlier he had been part of a Gunners side beaten 3-0 in the Carling Cup quarter-final by Manchester City.

As much of the British sporting public debated Arsene Wenger’s refusal to shake hands at the final whistle with Mark Hughes, Rambo headed back home down the M4 in time to watch Rambo II, 17-year-old Josh that is, along with around 200 other hardy souls who braved a bitterly-cold Gwent valleys evening.

The Welsh boys lost the match 38-18, and while the most junior Ramsey has the unmistakable gait and movement of his older brother, it should be said that this is no attempt to place him on the same sort of pedestal.

Whether he is destined for stardom, who knows? But he had a quiet game in front of watching Wales coach Iestyn Harris, seeing little of the ball on the left wing and being outsmarted defensively for the fourth Australian try.

“It was tough going,” he said later, as I chatted to him by the side of the pitch. “I thought first half we were going to beat them, it went well. But second half they stepped on the gas and got away from us.”

I had other things I wanted to ask, but, if truth be told, felt a little embarrassed to quiz a youngster for too long mainly on the basis that he has a famous Premiership and international footballer for a brother.

However, it was to Josh’s great credit that he clearly realised the reason why the demand for his time was so disproportionate to that of his team-mates.

Even accounting for that, he was polite and willing to help.

So how, I wondered, did he get into rugby league after initially being a member of the Dragons academy and seeking to make a mark in union?

And what influence, if any, does his brother have on him these days.

“The rugby league came to the school (Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, near Blackwood) and picked five of us to go for a trial and I’ve taken it from there,” he explained.

“I do prefer league to union, it’s quicker, more intense and more physical.

“As for Aaron, I just learn from him because he has made it and I have seen what it takes.

“He has given me more determination to make a name for myself.

“He has given me tips on what it takes to get to the top level, though I’ve not been up to Arsenal too much to watch him.

“I just want to do my best and try to make it.”

While Josh had little impact on the encounter against the young Kangaroos at Blackwood, seeing him win the game single-handedly and subsequently dubbing him the next Aaron was not the purpose of the visit.

I travelled more in intrigue than anything else.

On the evidence of what I saw – admittedly a one-off appearance at this kind of event – we are not looking at a potential superstar in the making.

But hey, it’s not really about that, is it?

Playing for your country is a wonderful achievement in any sport, at any level, and to see the pride Aaron so clearly has in his younger brother was thoroughly heartwarming.

Aaron’s choice of headwear preserved his anonymity to all but us Inspector Clouseau hacks. And that was just how he wanted it.

Rather than draw attention to his presence by plonking a tape recorder in front of him in full view of everyone, I discreetly asked for some comments from him about his brother as he walked past me at half-time, heading for the clubhouse for a half-time cup of tea. But he declined, insisting that the evening was about his brother, not him, and that there was no way he wanted to grab any of the limelight away from him.

His response was the same at the final whistle when a photographer colleague of mine tried to get a snap of the two brothers together.

Josh was all for it, but Aaron wasn’t, again citing his preference just to keep his head down and let his brother enjoy a rare night of prominence in the Ramsey household.

It may not have been the Emirates Stadium, there may not have been 60,000 fanatical spectators, but if young Josh can be happy with being part of a collective group that impressed the watching Harris then it was mission accomplished.

“I’m seeing a few of the boys for the first time and I’ve been impressed,” said the former dual code star, who will be working with Brian Noble at the Crusaders as well as taking charge of the national team next year.

“The Australians were a lot bigger physically, but our boys stood up well.

“We have a lot of quality coming through.

“We’ll be having regular meetings over the next 12 months to see who is making the right noises.

“Hopefully some of these guys will be ready for the World Cup in 2013.”

With that in mind you have to wonder just which Ramsey will end up playing in a World Cup first?

Place your bets....

Josh Ramsey (alert the pedobear, nao!)
Tags: he's just bein aaron, pedobear alert

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