Express & Star

Jacob Ramsey not thinking of World Cup push as he focuses on Aston Villa form

Jacob Ramsey claims thoughts of a late push for England’s World Cup squad are not on his mind as he concentrates on rediscovering top form for Villa.

Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey scores their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Friday September 16, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Villa. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

The under-21 international opened his account for the season by netting the only goal in Friday’s crucial 1-0 win over Southampton.

Ramsey’s stellar performances last term saw him crowned players’ player of the season and saw him touted for a senior Three Lions call-up.

But with Qatar 2022 now just two months away, the midfielder insists his focus is purely on club form after what he admits has been a disappointing start to the campaign both from an individual and team perspective.

“The end of last season when I went on a decent run of goals there were a few shouts about the seniors,” he said.

“But I think at the moment we (Villa) haven’t started the season great, I haven’t started the season great so my full focus is on getting back form from last season and getting up the table.”

Friday’s win was just Villa’s second of the season and Ramsey, who will report for under-21 duty on Monday, continued: “As a team and individually if we are looking at the last six games, we have not been there.

“But I am still young, still learning and playing different positions. Last week against Man City I was playing higher up, on Friday I dropped back a bit deeper.

“While I’m still 21, getting called up to the under-21s is still a big achievement, so I am going to take that in my stride.

“I still have time to learn, to adapt my position to the system. At the moment I am just enjoying my football and the full focus is on Villa.”

Villa boss Steven Gerrard is convinced it is only a matter of time before Ramsey is capped at senior level but urged patience with a player he sees as a key part of his long-term plans.

He said: “We want to build this around JJ. Most importantly, we think he is good enough. He has all the attributes.

“From an international point of view there is no rush. He will get there. I know people want to talk about the World Cup at the moment but I don’t think that is fair on him, he has only just broken through into the team here and is becoming a regular.

“We are changing his individual performance in different games. We are trying him in different positions. That is what helped me grow and develop and it will help him.

“I have every confidence this kid will become an international and elite player but it is my job to make sure there is not too much noise around him and let him develop and grow and evolve.”

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