Arsene Wenger believes Aaron Ramsey is 'mentally stronger' following his injury against Stoke last year

Gunners boss believes recovery from the broken leg he suffered against the Potters has had a positive effect on the midfielder, but being handed the Wales captaincy hasn't helped

Arsene Wenger has backed Aaron Ramsey to show his resolve against Stoke City this weekend when the midfielder revisits the ground where he sustained his horrific broken leg.

Ramsey, who is set to make only his third start for the Gunners since that fateful tackle by Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross 14 months ago, will come face to face with Shawcross again for the first time since the injury.

Wenger believes the Welsh international will prove what gains he has made since the injury. but has criticised Wales manager Gary Speed's decision to make Ramsey captain of the national team, saying it puts too much pressure on the youngster.

"It is like if you have a car accident; do you never drive again? Of course you drive again, and the earlier the better," Wenger said, according to the Mirror.

"He is certainly mentally stronger. After what happened to him you have to be strong. I am very, very happy for him.

"He is a quiet but strong character and I think there is no better maturing system than what happened to him - blocked at 18 suddenly, when you are just flying.

"Being knocked down and having to wait for a year, not knowing what really will happen… in fact, the real test is the first training. And he came through it."

Regarding Speed having made Ramsey Wales captain so soon after his lengthy lay-off, Wenger commented: "I feel the Welsh period came a bit early for him.

"I really feel it was a bit too much pressure on him, after not being completely ready himself. He had, at that stage, to focus on his own shape and all the duties of a captain.

"And I think it was a period where he needed more time to focus on his own performance and that he was a bit too much under pressure for that. Now I feel he is nearly there."

The Frenchman has also maintained that only Ramsey can declare whether Shawcross is forgiven following his leg-breaking tackle, and that speculation about it is meaningless.

"I said many times that only Aaron can forgive Shawcross," said Wenger. "He has been hurt and I don't think that is a needed debate before the game.

"Aaron is 20 years old. He has a long career in front of him. So the earlier he plays in Stoke, the better it is. The only things that are important are to focus, to play well and win the game.

"I never shake the hands of the players, I shake hands with the manager. I would not like to go into that debate at all, because I don't think it's very healthy.

"I think if you respect Aaron, let him prepare the game and play his game.

"I have nothing special to say. When you play football you try to control the ball well and make a good pass. When you do not have the ball you try to win it back. And you do not look who is against you.

"The foul happened [more than a] year ago. We cannot want to have a clean game and prepare football games like that."

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