Stats the way to do it... Ramsey showing just why he's so vital.
Byline: IAN MITCHELMORE Football writer email@example.com
AARON Ramsey produced a star performance to help Wales beat Turkey 2-0 in the Euro 2020 group stages.
It came just four days after he struggled to make an impact as Rob Page's men claimed a 1-1 draw in their tournament opener against Switzerland in Baku.
And he was to the fore as battling Wales made it to the last 16 of the competition despite a 1-0 defeat to Italy after Ethan Amapdu was sent off.
Make no mistake, Ramsey has consistently proven himself to be one of his country's most important players since making his international debut against this weekend's opponents Denmark in 2008.
The Juventus star's return of 17 goals in 66 appearances for his country seemingly goes under the radar - despite the fact he is now seventh on the all-time list of Wales' record goalscorers.
And having missed six of his side's eight Euro qualifiers, Ramsey is now delivering on the grandest of stages in what is proving to be a timely reminder of just how pivotal the 30-year-old is to Page and this squad.
He could well have bagged a hat-trick against Turkey, although his 42nd-minute strike in Azerbaijan was coolly taken and once again showed he could still form a lethal partnership with captain Gareth Bale.
The official tournament statistics also make for encouraging reading as far as Ramsey is concerned.
The former Cardiff City and Arsenal man has clocked up a total of 30.9km in the tournament so far which is the most of any Wales player and the joint-18th highest of anyone in the competition.
He's also won seven free-kicks which is the joint-second highest of any player in the competition while his tally of 88 passes completed is the best of any Wales player.
Many supporters questioned Ramsey's commitment to the cause during what was a wretched run of injuries for the playmaker that meant he featured in just 19 of Wales' 44 games between Euro 2016 and this summer's tournament.
And it was far from easy for Ramsey himself.
"I'm a proud Welshman who wants to play for Wales and help my team as much as I can," he said before the tournament.
"For me to have missed a few games now over the last few years has been very frustrating and difficult for me.
"Hopefully now that's behind me and I can look forward to all these games in the European Championships."
No one of a Welsh persuasion has ever questioned the Caerphilly product's ability.
But after a torrid run that has included multiple squad withdrawals, Ramsey finally finds himself back in a position where he can once again prove why he is destined to be included in the pantheon of Wales' true greats. | (Stats courtesy of UEFA, Correct at time of publishing)
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|Author:||IAN MITCHELMORE Football writer firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jun 24, 2021|
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