IF RAY PARLOUR were managing Arsenal this weekend, he would not only start Aaron Ramsey – he would make the Welshman deliver the pre-North London derby team-talk too.
Ramsey may be heading out the Arsenal door this summer – and is on the bench most weeks under boss Unai Emery, but Parlour thinks his big-match experience should not just be tossed aside.
Getty Images – Getty5 Aaron Ramsey is on his way out of Arsenal
Sportsfile – Subscription5 But Ray Parlour insists he should feature in the North London derby
The Arsenal legend said: “My only worry for Arsenal is there aren’t many that have played in too many of these derbies.
“The name that stands out I guess for Arsenal is Aaron Ramsey. I know he’s been out in the cold but perhaps it’s time for Unai to utilise him.
“Ramsey should be in the dressing room, alongside Steve Bould, giving that rousing speech telling everyone what the fans want and expect from this game.
“My first one was around 1991 and there were some big names in that dressing room like Bouldy and Tony Adams who would let you know what they expected in a game like this.
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Reuters5 Unai Emery has frozen out Aaron Ramsey this season
AP:Associated Press5 Aaron Ramsey's experience and goals could be vital for Arsenal, says Ray Parlour
“Like Ramsey though, I didn’t really need the history lessons as I had been familiar with this rivalry since I was 14 as a youth player.
“But the foreign boys coming in will need one, and that’s where Ramsey can influence proceedings.”
Parlour, who lost just four of 20 outings against Spurs during his 13-year spell, added: “I remember being in the little group that gave Patrick Vieira a pep talk about this game when he first arrived and who Spurs were to us.
“Vieira, being Vieira, got it straight away – but some always need more guidance than others.”
Ramsey, 27, has played in 11 derbies since his debut a decade ago. Of the current playing squad, no one can match that – with only crocked skipper Laurent Koscielny facing Spurs more.
Getty Images – Getty5 Unai Emery goes head-to-head with Mauricio Pochettino for the first time in England
And Arsenal’s new boys will come up against a Spurs squad overflowing with north London nous – the likes of Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane averaging just under 10 derbies each.
Mauricio Pochettino will get his 12th taste of the famous fixture from the Emirates dugout, but for
Emery, this will be a debut test.
Parlour concedes Arsenal vs Spurs has lost its edge in recent years – he even admits to getting more excited by the prospect of battling Manchester United when he laced his own boots.
But the three-time Prem winner admits it’s a game back on the up.
He added: “This game at the weekend is huge.
“This day and age with how close they are in the league and how they have both started the season and vying for a Champions League place, suddenly it’s a massive game once again.
“If Arsenal have got any chance of getting in the top four this season, this is the game you cannot lose.
“Drawing with Liverpool at the Emirates was a good performance, the intensity was good – but they have to play better to get anything at all in this one."
Former Arsenal and England midfielder Ray Parlour was speaking as a brand ambassador of ComeOn! www.comeon.com Sports & Casino, a leading sports betting and online casino brand.