Aaron Ramsey sits out Wales training but says he is fine for Euro 2020 opener
By Phil Blanche, PA
Aaron Ramsey says it was a deliberate decision for him to miss training just over 48 hours before Wales’ Euro 2020 opener against Switzerland.
Ramsey’s fitness record has been a huge source of concern for Wales, with the Juventus playmaker featuring in only 19 of the 44 games they have played since reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
The 30-year-old has been short of game-time heading into the Switzerland clash on Saturday, but insists Wales fans should not be alarmed by him sitting out the squad’s penultimate pre-game training session in Baku.
“It was planned that I stayed off my feet,” Ramsey said.
“It was a very light session for the boys. I’m all good and looking forward to Saturday.”
Ramsey’s club career in the last two seasons has also been hampered by injury.
He has started only 24 league games for Juventus since joining from Arsenal in 2019, leading to him putting a greater emphasis on his own fitness.
“It’s been quite a challenging time over the last couple of seasons, but I’ve got my own team around me who are focused on me getting into the best possible shape,” Ramsey said.
“Football is a team sport and mostly about the team. But maybe some players need more attention, and I’ve taken it into my own hands.
“I’ve got the right people around me to come up with the best possible plan to get myself back into a place where I’m feeling good and confident again.
“The Welsh staff and medical team have been brilliant, open for discussions.
“It’s important to be on the same page. But I know a lot of the Welsh staff a long time, back from my Arsenal days, and they understand me.
“They know my body, what I need, and hopefully we can all play a part to get myself in the best place.”
Ramsey came on as a 59th-minute substitute in the 3-0 friendly defeat to France last week.
He then got an hour under his belt in the final warm-up game against Albania at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, being deployed as a false nine instead of playing in his usual number 10 position in the 0-0 draw.
“It was a new role for me,” Ramsey said of the false nine role. “But it’s something that we have been working on and for me to try and get familiar with.
“The starting position’s a lot higher up and you’re playing with your back to goal a little bit more.
“You’re relying on other players to make those runs in behind if I come a little bit deeper.
“It’s a lot different. But a lot of teams in the Premier League have had a lot of success doing it, and if done correctly it can be effective.
“I’m not sure what route we’re going to go down, but it’s something we’ve put into practice and is an option for us.”
Ramsey was recognised for his outstanding performances at Euro 2016 by being named in the official team of the tournament.
Back then, he was sporting a dyed blond hairstyle – but this time he has passed that look over to England midfielder Phil Foden.
Asked about Foden’s new hairstyle, Ramsey said: “To the players who have done it (dyed their hair), whatever floats their boat if you like.
“It hasn’t been so easy this time because of the Covid restrictions to get a hairdresser in to dye it.
“Maybe I would have done it if there was no Covid. It was a bit more difficult than it was a few years back.
“You’d have to get the hairdresser in to have (Covid) tests – and it wasn’t worth the risk.”