Arsene Wenger has revealed that he was encouraged to drop Aaron Ramsey for games at the Emirates Stadium last season.
The Welshman has been in inspired form this season and was announced as Arsenal's player of the month for the fourth time in a row before their 2-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday.
However as recently as last season he was a target of abuse from Arsenal fans, who according to Wenger implored him not to pick the midfielder.
“Let’s not forget that one year ago people were saying to me, ‘it’s difficult to play him at the Emirates’,” said Wenger ahead of Arsenal's Champions League clash with Marseille this evening.
“You could see there was an impatience with him at the Emirates. You always are, as a manager, in a period where you think: ‘Do I push him through and he can go more down, or do I give him a breather to regenerate, to get him a fresh start?’
“That’s always difficult for us to assess because it is linked to their mental state. When their own confidence is down, of course they are in trouble. But he is a confident boy.
“You have to give him credit for that transformation because he could deal with that. He could come back, never give up, convince everybody that he has the needed quality.”
Ramsey has found the back of the net an impressive six times in the Premier League so far this season - only one less than his tally from his previous five seasons at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger insists that goals aren't the only thing he's bought to the table this term however.
“He had another quality in that he does not hide to take the ball. And when he makes a mistake, he doesn’t hide again," he said.
"Where he has improved a lot is in his first touch, in his finishing, in the quality of his long balls and in the speed of his vision.”
When asked if he believed Ramsey had the ability to become a "world class" player, the Arsenal boss replied: He can become. Of course, when you play at Arsenal you need already to be a world-class player because you go through so many selections to finish here.
"What is for me the most important is, ‘Has a player gone as far as he could?’ He’s 22 years old. I’m 64 and I still think I can improve so why should a guy who is 22, who can play until he is 35, think he is the top of his game?"
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