Ramsey looks to emulate old heros to build on win


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It is a measure of how many years have advanced since Welsh children made heroes of the national team that Aaron Ramsey, their 20-year-old captain, never wore the country's kit as a boy and has never seen footage of the 4-1 win over Ron Greenwood's England at Wrexham in 1977 which remains the peak of achievement against the old enemy.

"I think that was a bit before my time," Ramsey admitted yesterday, when Leighton James' name was put to him and you got the impression that he worshipped Ryan Giggs as a Welsh player. "I didn't have the [Wales] kit but when you were in school with friends you always put yourselves in situations and pretended to be them," said Ramsey, who has not told Giggs that it was his moves he re-enacted in a back garden in Caerphilly.

It may not delight the Wales nation to know that Ramsey's own dreams of international silverware involved him standing on a winners' rostrum with the strains of God Save the Queen in his ears, in London next summer.

The captain also revealed yesterday that he and Gareth Bale both want to put themselves at odds with the Welsh FA by appearing in a British team at the Olympics. "Given the opportunity I'd like to," Ramsey said. "If there's a chance to play and there is an opportunity to win a medal it would be great to achieve that in your career."

Wales is awash with optimism since Bale's swashbuckling display secured the 2-1 win over Montenegro in Cardiff on Friday night, but Gary Speed's pragmatism and the absence through suspension tonight of Craig Bellamy should prevent anyone getting carried away about the world's 117th-ranked football nation.

The gulf between the nations was laid bare in the 14 minutes it took England to go 2-0 up when the nations met in March. "After half an hour I thought I would take 2-0, yes absolutely!" Speed (left) joked yesterday and the euphoria of victory over Montenegro should not disguise the weaknesses in defence which put Friday's visitors so close to an equaliser.