Aaron Ramsey welcomes Wales progress
Tuesday 11 October 2011
Captain Aaron Ramsey admits it would be "surreal" if Wales could end their Euro 2012 Group G campaign in third place, but believes it would be a sign of how far his team have come in such a short time.
Wales' campaign to reach Poland and Ukraine was as good as over almost before it had started as four defeats from their opening four games, during which time there were three different managers at the helm, left them rock bottom of the table.
But since Gary Speed, who oversaw the fourth of those four defeats, took charge steady progress has been made and hopes in the Principality are high that his young squad will be able to challenge for a place at a major finals in the near future.
Wins over Montenegro and Switzerland have helped lift Wales off the foot of the standings, and have left tonight's hosts Bulgaria bottom of the table. And a Wales win tonight would secure that third place finish should Switzerland lose to Montenegro.
Arsenal star Ramsey believes a positive result in Sofia would show just how much his side have progressed under Speed.
"It's a bit surreal in a way, given the position we were in a few games back," said Ramsey of their hopes of finishing third.
"There has been a big change here and we have adapted to it. We have proven to everyone and to ourselves what we are capable of doing.
"We have had good results and the belief we have now has come on and hopefully we can take that into this game.
"It takes time to get used to things, players have to adapt, off the pitch too, but I think now those things are coming together nicely and we are progressing nicely."
Ramsey, 20. has also shown signs of maturing into the captain's role bestowed on him by Speed prior to the clash with England in March, and the Arsenal man believes he is improving as a skipper with every passing game.
"Hopefully I have many more successful years of being Welsh captain ahead," he said. "As we play more games and meet up on more occasions I have grown into it and I am becoming a better captain.
"Hopefully I lead by example on the pitch, there are little things to do off the pitch as well. Players look up to you and if you are not doing something right people will question you so you need to do things properly."
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