Arsenal team mates Ramsey and Wilshere to duel in Cardiff

Arsenal team mates Ramsey and Wilshere to duel in Cardiff

Arsenal’s young midfield stars Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere go head-to-head in a fascinating midfield duel in the Euro2012 qualifier between Wales and England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Fabio Capello surprisingly showed his hand at Friday’s press conference when confirming that he intends to play Wilshere after witnessing his fearless display in Barcelona. The England maestro is expecting a heated derby atmosphere in Cardiff with a blood and thunder Premier League style encounter in store and he had no reservations in selecting the youngster after his performance in one of the most intimidating European theatres.

Wales’ manager Gary Speed surprised many football pundits when he announced that Aaron Ramsey would captain the Welsh against England, the 20-year-old becomes Wales youngest ever skipper and has only just returned to football after spending nine months on the sidelines with a broken leg.

Ramsey was chosen ahead of more experienced players such as James Collins and Ashley Williams after Craig Bellamy asked to stand down knowing he will struggle for a regular place due to a long term knee problem. 16 months ago, Ramsey suffered a career threatening injury when his leg was shattered in a late challenge by Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross when he was promising to establish himself as a first team regular at the Emirates. The young Welshman has shown terrific mental resolve to overcome that setback and has been playing Championship football since January, on loan to Nottingham Forest and Cardiff.

Ironically, it was Ramsay’s injury that allowed Jack Wilshere his opportunity for first team football at Arsenal, which he has grasped with both hands this season and has emerged as a future prospect for the England captaincy.

For now, John Terry has been re-instated as England captain and will play at the heart of the England defence where it is expected he will be partnered by Phil Jagielka. Goalkeeper Ben Foster has been sent home with a throat infection and opens the door for Scott Carson to play between the sticks.

Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson are fit to pay in their usual full back berths and who will partner Wilshere in midfield is the biggest question on the minds of most England fans. Without the injured Steven Gerrard, it would be a shock if Frank Lampard is not among the starting eleven. Gareth Barry, James Milner and Scott Parker will be looking at each other and wondering who will get the nod. Wayne Rooney will be expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet, but with Jermaine Defoe and Darren Bent struggling to find the net in recent games, the choice of his playing partner hangs in the balance. Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch are also possible options up front

Speed was dealt a blow with the withdrawal of Gareth Bale in midweek, but the return of Craig Bellamy will give the England defence a few problems to deal with. Steve Morrison, Simon Church, Ched Evans and Sam Vokes wil be considered for a striking berth as Wales look to revive their fading Euro 2012 qualifying dream
 

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