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Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Sunday, 20 March 2011

Wales boss Gary Speed praises Aaron Ramsey's character

2012 European Championship qualifying Group G - Wales v England
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 26 March Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: Full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online, live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website.


Aaron Ramsey has not played for Wales since November 2009
Aaron Ramsey has not played for Wales since November 2009

Wales manager Gary Speed says that Aaron Ramsey has lost none of his competitive edge after battling back to fitness from a double leg break.

The Arsenal midfielder, 20, suffered the injury in February 2010 but returned to action last November.

Ramsey's return to form sees him back in the Wales squad to face England in their Euro 2012 qualifier on 26 March.

"It [his recovery] says a lot about him, both physically and mentally," said Speed ahead of the Cardiff clash.

"Obviously he's a young lad so his body has been able to cope, but mentally - and I've watched him play the last couple of weeks - he does steam into tackles, there's no doubt about that.

"So, mentally, he's a very strong person."

A tackle by Stoke's Ryan Shawcross saw Ramsey suffer fractures to the tibia and fibula of his right leg.

Surgery was followed by months of rehabilitation, culminating in a run out for Arsenal reserves late in November.

The youngster then impressed during loan spells at Nottingham Forest and former club Cardiff City, before being recalled by Arsenal and coming off the bench in their 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on 12 March.

Ramsey started his first Arsenal game since his injury in Saturday's 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion and now he is set to play for his country for the first time since scoring in the 3-0 friendly win over Scotland in November 2009.

Speed looking to create history

"Aaron would be looking forward to it as much as anyone and when you've seen him play for Wales and the under-21s... he does seem to suit international football," added Speed.

Wales are bottom of Group G having lost all three of their opening Euro 2012 qualifying matches, while England are second - albeit with a game in hand - three points behind surprise packages Montenegro.

A sell-out 69,000 crowd is expected at the Millennium Stadium next Saturday and will be a huge increase on the 18,800 which attended Wales' last home qualifier against Bulgaria at the Cardiff City Stadium last October.

Speed is determined that his players give the long-suffering home fans every encouragement to continue turning up to watch Wales play.

"I think they can expect 100% effort, which is a pre-requisite and should always happen," Speed said.

"Hopefully we can give the fans early on something to lift them, which they can in return give back to us.

"It works both ways, now we need to give the fans something to get them on the edge of their seats, to get them firing.

"So in return hopefully the fans will get behind us and make our job a little bit easier.

"For Wales it's a big occasion regardless of the opposition and the Millennium Stadium, you do want it to become a fortress.

"If we're going to qualify for anything we need to do that, we need to win our home games in qualifying groups and what better place to start than against England.

"We know it's going to be tough, no doubt about that, but long-term if we can make this into a fortress it will give us a better chance of qualifying in future."



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Euro 2012 qualifying tables
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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