London - Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour has forecast Gunners rising star Aaron Ramsey could become as influential a player as England captain Steven Gerrard.
Wales international Ramsey has scored 13 goals this season but has not played since a Boxing Day win over West Ham because of a thigh injury.
Ramsey signed a contract extension with Arsenal on Tuesday and Parlour said he could do for the Gunners what fellow midfielder Gerrard has done for Liverpool.
“Without doubt, Aaron Ramsey can become as influential as Steven Gerrard. Ramsey needs to believe in his own abilities,” Parlour wrote on his Sportlobster blog on Wednesday.
“He is a young and exciting talent and will definitely be a top, top player in the future. He wants to learn and is blessed with the ideal attributes for a midfield player.”
Parlour added Gerrard, whose Liverpool side are battling for the Premier League title along with Arsenal, leaders Chelsea and Manchester City, was the best player he'd come up against in his career.
“Gerrard was the best player I have ever faced,” he said.
“I think he is absolutely world class. He isn't as effective box-to-box as he was a few years ago, but he continues to make the difference.
“Ramsey was the perfect box-to-box midfielder in the first-half of the season and I always said if he could score a few more, he would be complete.”
Arsene Wenger will take charge of his 1000th game in charge as Arsenal manager on Saturday when they travel to Chelsea for an early anticipated clash between the London rivals.
“The match against Chelsea is absolutely massive for Arsenal and hopefully they will snatch a win, but a draw is a decent result also,” Parlour said, with Arsenal looking to end a nine-year trophy drought this season.
“The spirit of the team is fantastic. You cannot win anything if the players aren't pulling in the same direction.
“Wenger is brilliant with man management. If you were out of favour, but always part of the team, he would always keep you involved and say you could change the game or even the season.
“He was very good at keeping you focused on the task. This is an important factor and his squad is very supportive of each other.” Parlour said of the Frenchman.