Aaron Ramsey had no hesitation when he was asked who was his boyhood idol: former Stoke City captain Graham Kavanagh.
Ramsey probably surprised a few people when he threw up Kav’s name as his hero rather than the likes of Ryan Giggs or Peter Thorne. Kavanagh scored 45 goals in just 250 appearances for the Potters, including one against Bristol City at Wembley to help win the Autoglass Shield in 2000.
But he left the Potteries for Cardiff in 2001, which probably gives away Ramsey’s reasoning. Ramsey grew up as a Cardiff fan and was on the books as a teenager before heading to Arsenal and on to Juventus.
“Graham Kavanagh played in the middle of the park, where I played,” he said in an online Q&A with fans.
“That was my goal always, to get into that team, into that position and to be like him.
“That was all I was focused on doing it, making it and becoming a professional at Cardiff.”
He has previously said: “I was born just outside Cardiff so obviously I supported them – and (Kavanagh) was he player I looked up to and wanted to be like.”
Not many international stars opt for lower league legends as their heroes.
Rory Delap was one, however, admitting it was a toss up between Bryan Robson and former Carlisle left winger John Halpin.
And Kavanagh, when Ramsey’s quote was pointed out to him on Twitter, was modest enough to say: “And what a career you’ve had, pal.”