Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard believes that young midfielder Jacob Ramsey has the potential to become one of the very best in his position and it’s now up to the player himself to make sure he does exactly that.
Ramsey, 20, has had a breakout year at Villa Park going from a bit-part player to one of the first name’s on the teamsheet within just 12 months.
The midfielder who turns 21 at the end of May made his Premier League debut last season racking up 22 top flight appearances across the year but only six of whch were starts.
This season however under both Smith initially and then latterly Gerrard, the England youth international has featured in all but one of the games when fit, 27 of the 29 being from the off.
His performances on the field have impressed not only the management and fans but his own teammates, too.
Ramsey picked up two trophies at Villa’s annual end of season awards - ‘Young Player of the Season’ and ‘Players’ Player of the Season’ - the latter Gerrard describing as arguably the biggest honour you can receive from within your own club.
“You should take big belief and big confidence from it,” explained the manager.
“I think in JJ’s situation, you’ve got that natural link. A home grown kid that has been at Aston Villa since he was six years of age. A big talent.
“I think JJ is the driver of his own future, he can be what he wants to be. It’s my job to keep him grounded and humble and keep pushing him hard and provoking him and challenging him and shaping him and that’s what we’ll give him. We’ll give him all the support that he needs. But you know, the next 15 years, he’s the driver of how he wants his career to look.
“He’s a big, big talent and it’s no surprise that he won both awards because since I came in the door he’s definitely been one of the most consistent players in our group.”
What people sometimes forget is that the ‘players’ player’ award isn’t just based off how you perform on the pitch on matchday but how you carry yourself around the squad in day-to-day life and in training.
Gerrard emphasised this, adding that the work he’s putting in during the week is visible for all to see and made an exciting admission about what to expect from Ramsey in the future.
“These are with him every single day, these are competing either on his team in training or against him in training,” he added.
“They are seeing him in the games, what he’s contributing at such a young age. He’s robust, this is the first little niggle he’s had and games he hasn’t been available for.
“I actually think his body is getting stronger and better by the weeks. Normally it takes a period of time but he’s getting stronger, he’s getting more powerful as the weeks are going by and I think the players are experiencing that up close. I’m certainly experiencing it.
“We’re probably at an advantage where we’re seeing him every single day, so.
“I think he’s only going to get better too and that’s the most exciting thing for me.”
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