The only benefit of international week

I despise international weeks more than anything. Just as the season is getting going, the brakes are applied while some God-awful qualifiers take place that no one will remember in a month’s time.

Like most Addicts, my biggest fear is of the possible injuries to my beloved Gunners – remember that last season RvP’s injury while on duty for Holland could be argued to be one of the two key injuries which prevented us winning the title.

But there is a silver lining, injuries permitting.

I can’t say I’m enamored by the fact that Carlos Vela may well face Canada and Jamaica on the other side of the globe in the next week, but at least he will be getting more exposure to top level football.

And at the same time, closer to home, Aaron Ramsey will take another step towards forcing himself right into Arsene Wenger’s plans.

Ramsey has been tipped to win his first full cap in the week ahead, against either Azerbaijan or Russia and that sort of exposure is going to seriously help him develop his game.

A poll in Wales yesterday had an overwhelming 92% of fans urging Wales manager John Toshack to pick the Gunners starlet – and former Arsenal midfielder and Wales captain Peter Nicholas believes Ramsey is set for greatness.

Nicholas said: “I have watched the lad since he was 12 at Cardiff City's Academy and from the first moment I clapped eyes on him I knew he was head and shoulders above any other kid. Technique, ability, attitude, physique – he’s been miles ahead from the off.

“He is being mentioned in the same breath as Ryan Giggs – but he isn’t the new Ryan Giggs, he’s the first Aaron Ramsey and he has all the talent needed to make a name for himself.

"He can captain Wales, no question. He's a big candidate, no question. He has had a very good grounding at Cardiff, they looked after him well and taught him the right habits from an early age.

“I am not in the slightest bit surprised that England's biggest clubs were chasing him - and I am just happy he ended up at the Arsenal."

I’m going to stick my neck on the line and say that, despite the competition for midfield places – and let’s be honest, when Cesc is fit, there is really only one place in the middle up for grabs (now), Ramsey will still make a dozen or more appearances in the first team, excluding the gimme of the Carling Cup.

Nicholas is in agreement with Addict when he said: “He has been so good and impressed at the Arsenal in such a short space of time Arsene Wenger has found it hard to ignore him.

"I honestly believe, even despite his young age and lack of experience, he will be challenging for a place in the first team starting line-up very soon. By very soon I mean this season. To do that at a club like Arsenal proves he's special. And clubs like Arsenal only pick special players."

I saw Ramsey at Barnet, where his composure and passing looked sublime, but it’s fair to say he was less sparkling against FC Twente - but after less than 20 senior appearances to his name, he certainly didn't disgrace himself.

It’s going to be a fascinating sideshow watching how Wenger develops him and eases him into the top flight – and if the ‘new Steven Gerrard’ tag is even half true, perhaps some of our readers’ fears about the midfield may prove to be, thankfully, misplaced.