Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ramsey's broken leg

"This is the third player - Eduardo, Diaby and now Ramsey - we've lost to tackles that are unacceptable, and spare me the articles tomorrow about how nice Shawcross is because we had all that with Eduardo."

- Arsene Wenger

This one's not about the game, nor Shawcross' tackle, nor our chance in winning the league. Truth is, I didn't watch the match. I slept in, and woke up at 7 o'clock to find the result. And now, fourteen hours later, I'm still in a state of shock. It's difficult to think that Ramsey's out for the season. It doesn't seem real.

At times like this, you've got to wonder how Ramsey's feeling.

The choices for him at the moment are probably limited to morphine or more morphine. His mind must be a mess at the moment, but the only thing he's got to do now is wait for that leg to mend. For a young man who's life has been defined by action, that's likely difficult to do. To wait while the season rushes to its conclusion, to watch the league title challenge from the stands, it must be difficult to bear. The team will want to do everything in its power to win it for Ramsey, but it must be scant consolation when the game's there to be won, and you're powerless to affect the outcome.

But once his leg's mended, and he's training again, it becomes interesting. How long does it take to recover from a broken leg? It's an absolute tragedy for this to happen when he's 19. The years between 18-22 are crucial to a footballer's ability to achieve his potential, and it's so cruel to see those developmental years taken away from him. The world's at his feet, and then… you know.

The scary thing is that he might never achieve his potential. Do people truly recover from broken legs? Eduardo, two years' out, is rusty and a shadow of the player he promised to be. Diaby's still plagued by niggling injuries. And, these were players who had their injuries at a later stage of their development. Will Ramsey come back and develop into that feisty, creative midfield foil for Cesc? I hope so, but you never know.

I guess it depends on how he approaches his rehabilitation. Dale Begg-Smith, the Australian moguls skier, came back from a serious injury to win a silver medal at the Olympics. At his interview, he said that he never gave himself the luxury of self-doubt during his lay-off. Once he was injured, he figured out what he had to do to get back to his peak. And then he did it. It's a remarkable attitude. He didn't doubt that he couldn't do it, because he knew that once he acknowledged those fears, he was gone.

I imagine Ramsey's in much the same frame of mind. He's not my favourite Arsenal youngster - Theo's a much nicer boy - but from everything I've read about him, he's a determined guy. You'd have to be tough in order to force yourself into a Cardiff side at 17. You'd have to be driven to choose Arsenal over Man Utd, and skip the opportunity to train with Ryan Giggs. And you'd have to be a tough little fucker to have a nickname like "Rambo".

I think that that force of will is what separates the high achievers from the plebs. They have the ability to focus solely on what truly matters, and let everything else slide away. And at the moment, what really matters is getting that leg mended, working his way back to fitness, breaking back into the Arsenal first team, and then hunting down Ryan Shawcross to see how he likes an "honest" 50/50 tackle to the shin.

No comments: