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Ramsay believes now is the “right time” to be an Azkal



“I feel now is the right time for me to play international football,” Iain Ramsay declared while in attendance at the LGR Azkals’ kit launch last Wednesday evening at the Sparta Sports Complex in Mandaluyong City. In doing so, the 27-year-old opted to represent the Philippines despite being eligible to play for Australia and Scotland—the place of his father’s origin.

The A-League veteran is among the four new players named by Thomas Dooley in his 23-man squad for the Asian Football Confederation’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. In an interview, Ramsay stated that he can’t wait to help the Filipinos progress into the third round. “I’m very excited, very honored, and privileged to be here to represent the Azkals. I’m very happy to be here,” he stated. Ramsay is also feeling ecstatic to make his Filipino side of the family proud and representing more than a hundred million more people only gets him more pumped up.

Ramsay began training with the squad since Tuesday and has had a few little concerns with getting himself accustomed with the punishing tropical climate. “It really has taken a bit to get used to. I mean, it’s so hot and humid here, but I’m glad I’ve come early too, because I’ve been able to acclimatise,” the Australian-based player also assessed. While getting himself used to the heat that is contrasting the autumn in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment, Ramsay also met his new teammates who share the same mission of making football a bigger sport in the Philippines. Having only spent less than a week in the country, the Perth-born wingback has been spending time to familiarize himself with his new teammates “It’s all about trying to jell into a great team, we have a lot of really good individuals. I’ve been very impressed so far with the playing group and we’re just trying to jell and play well for the game against Bahrain.”

In 2010, Ramsay made a debut in the A-League for Sydney FC. He went on to play for two other top-flight teams in Adelaide United and his latest club Melbourne City FC, an affiliate of Premier League club Manchester City. It was also in that year when Ramsay grabbed the attention of Philippine football officials who immediately sought for his approval to play with the Azkals. Ramsay, however, still weighed his options—a move that took five years in the making. “I had really a good breakout season in my first year and there was a lot of talk surrounding me with the Socceroos,” he stated. It was no secret that Ramsay had his eyes on representing Australia. As time passed by with no international football lined up for him, Ramsay made the decision of representing a team he is eligible to by virtue of his mother. “I’ve been fortunate that the Azkals have been following me throughout my career. I just can’t wait to represent the Azkals and represent the country and my first game,” he added.

Approaching his debut, Ramsay thinks the Azkals’ fans should expect him to be a determined member of the roster who uses his flair and speed to terrorize opponents particularly along the left side of the pitch. “[I] play with a 100% commitment. I have a lot of pace I’m a direct player. I love to score goals and I also like to create,” Ramsay described himself.

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