By Jonty Banks

6th Mar, 2023 | 9:10am

Aaron Ramsey banging down the door for Aston Villa return with Middlesbrough loan form

Although Match of the Day recently confused a graphic of Aston Villa loanee Aaron Ramsey with his older brother Jacob, the 20-year-old is making sure this mistake won’t be made again with his string of strong performances for Middlesbrough.

The academy graduate has big boots to fill after Jacob’s rapid ascension into the Aston Villa first-team over the past two years, but he is starting to step into the limelight alongside fellow loanee Cameron Archer in Michael Carrick’s high-flying Boro side.

In the first half of the Championship season, Ramsey had spent time at Norwich City under the watchful eye of former Villa manager Dean Smith, but despite his strong form, Smith’s sacking before the New Year meant a January switch elsewhere was needed for the attacking midfielder.

Since moving to Teesside and recovering from a two-month injury layoff, the youngster hasn’t looked back.

In just his second start for Middlesbrough, Ramsey was quite simply outstanding as he picked up a brace and the man of the match award in the 5-0 win over Reading on Saturday (4 March).

During his 82 minutes of action, the 20-year-old was strong both in attack and defence. As well as scoring twice, Ramsey completed 2/2 dribbles, won four out of five duels and impressively won eight ball recoveries in what was a brilliant display of his all-round qualities.

His first goal was particularly noteworthy, as he charged down a shot on the edge of his own box following a corner before running the length of the pitch with the ball at his feet. After shrugging off the challenges from the Royals’ makeshift defence, he cooly slotted his shot beyond Dean Bouzanis.

On his display, Boro manager Carrick said: “AJ was brilliant. He’s a selfless player. He makes selfless runs for those around him, he’s intelligent, he sacrifices himself and understands what others around him are good at.” [Birmingham Live]

Saturday’s performance is yet another sign that although the older Ramsey has stolen the headlines at Villa Park, Aaron is following in his brother’s footsteps with his performances in the Championship this season.

And with Phillipe Coutinho’s future under Unai Emery still very much up in the air, there could be a vacancy for the playmaker in the first-team squad if he continues to thrive at the Riverside Stadium.

Match of the Day may need to keep the graphic of Ramsey donning Villa’s claret and blue top, as it doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere in a hurry.

In other Aston Villa news, the future of this loanee hangs in the balance as contract talks await.