Aaron Ramsey has taken a veiled swipe at Juventus after insisting his fitness is not a problem when “managed correctly”. Ramsey will captain Wales in the absence of the injured Gareth Bale on Friday in their crucial World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in Prague but arrives undercooked after starting one Serie A game this season.
Ramsey has featured four times for Juventus this seasonMassimiliano Allegri’s side this season, playing 105 minutes, 59 on the opening day when he started against Udinese, and preparation has not been ideal for a match that will probably decide whether Wales or the Czech Republic finish second behind Belgium in Group E and secure a spot in the play-offs for Qatar 2022.
“I know what I can do and with the right management I can stay fit for a long period of time and play a lot of games,” Ramsey said. “I’m still feeling good, when given the opportunity and managed correctly. It has been frustrating, that I have picked up these little niggly injuries which have cost me a lot of games and meant I have missed some important games for Wales in the last couple of years.”
Ramsey started every game as Wales reached the last 16 at Euro 2020 in the summer but has not played a qualifier since his double secured passage to those finals against Hungary in November 2019. The 30-year-old midfielder has struggled to make a regular impact at Juventus, whom he joined after leaving Arsenal on a free that year.
“The training philosophy and methods are different at my club than they are here [with Wales],” he said. “There are a number of people here who have a number of years of managing me so they know how to get the best out of me and so I am able to play a number of games in a row. As I showed in the Euros this year, I’m capable of doing that and producing good performances.
“My outputs in games are pretty high and maybe I need a bit more rest and recovery throughout the week rather than being on the grass for a long period of time and carrying more fatigue into games. Recovery is a big part of that for me.”
Robert Page, the Wales interim manager, said it was a “crying shame” that Ramsey was not playing regularly. Bale has a hamstring injury but is expected to return for November qualifiers at home to Belarus and the group leaders, Belgium, and Ben Davies and David Brooks are absent for trips to the Czech Republic and Estonia, who Wales face on Monday, because of illness.