JACOB RAMSEY’S parent club Aston Villa may be heading to Wembley in just 24 days time, but the Doncaster Rovers loanee is eyeing his own special date on the hallowed turf a bit further down the line.
Thousands of Brummies will descend upon the home of football on March 1 for Villa’s Carabao Cup final date with Manchester City, hopeful that the bells will be ringing out for the claret and blue just as they were last May in their Championship play-off final win over Derby County.
Agonisingly, a penalty shoot-out loss in the League One play-off semi-finals last season cruelly dashed Rovers hopes of a final appearance in the end-of-season lottery in 2018-19 – yet as it stands, they having a fighting chance of participation again.
Their prospects of extending their season are likely to depend on how well new January signings such as Ramsey, Fejiri Okenabirhie and Devante Cole perform, with Tuesday night’s developments at Tranmere Rovers representing an encouraging sign.
The trio provided grounds for optimism in an eye-catching 3-0 success at Prenton Park, most notably Ramsey, who enjoyed a Rovers debut which he will not forget in a hurry, courtesy of two well-taken goals.
On heading to Doncaster amid rival interest, Ramsey said: “Mark Harrison, the academy manager at Villa knows Darren Moore a lot and they were definitely speaking and I am guessing Mark gave a good word about me.
I have always scored a lot of goals since I was little. I used to play as striker and dropped back a little bit. I have scored a lot of goals this season and last and want to continue it.Jacob Ramsey
“Before I came, I looked at the table and you are always thinking (about) who you have joined and are thinking of play-offs and Wembley and I am looking to do that.”
His dream opening night, making light of a bobbly, sandy surface at Tranmere certainly represented a head-turning bow and tantalising introduction from the 18-year-old.
“I was a bit nervous (before), but once you get a touch, it all goes away,” continued Ramsey, who cast aside his disappointment at missing a golden first-half opportunity in the best possible way.
“You could see us playing out from the back in those conditions and I just thought this is for me.
“It was pretty amazing, to be fair. I should have had a hat-trick but they were two decent goals and after Saturday, it was the perfect way to bounce back.
“It is one to remember and a good feeling.
“I have always scored a lot of goals since I was little. I used to play as striker and dropped back a little bit. I have scored a lot of goals this season and last and want to continue it.
“My reaction (after the first-half chance) showed I was disappointed, but all the lads said: ‘keep going, there’s another chance’ and the gaffer said that in the half-time team talk and two came up and I took both of them.”
News of the teenage midfielder’s feats on the Wirral will have filtered back not just to Doncaster, but to Villa Park, where the advice he has received has been eminently sensible.
It was while on loan at Notts County where Villa talisman Jack Grealish first cut his footballing teeth on the competitive front, with plenty of other successful homegrown Villa players having first earned their stripes on loan in the lower divisions.
Ramsey, described as a player who can ‘unlock the door’ according to Moore, said: “To be fair, it is the young lads (who advise). Keinan Davis has been injured, but we speak a lot.
“Ezri Konsa is another one and they have just been telling me to keep my head down and not get too big-headed and when you come in, just express yourself as you are here for a reason.
“That is what I tried to do. Academy football is completely different and hopefully I can get this under my belt and go back to Villa as a better player.”
James Coppinger will be in contention for the weekend home game with Rochdale after being rested at Tranmere.