Calvin Ramsay ready to excite in a Preston North End shirt as Liverpool inspiration outlined
It's far from how Calvin Ramsay would've imagined nor dreamt it, but his Preston North End debut has been ticked off. There's only one direction the Scot is looking in now, having endured three months of injury frustration following his loan move from Liverpool in June.
North End's capture of Ramsay was an encouraging piece of early summer business, but another cruel blow came his way on the eve of the season. After missing the majority of the previous campaign, a knee setback saw Ramsay sidelined for an extended period. Only in the second half of Tuesday night's drubbing in Teesside, did he pull on a PNE shirt for the first time.
In his absence, Brad Potts had been relied upon once again down the right flank. Ramsay was resigned to watching from the stands, with North End collecting 28 points from their first 18 games of the season. Ramsay became more and more eager the closer he got to match action - especially for the Blackburn Rovers win - but it was crucial to take the time required.
"Yeah, I was hoping to come on, or get on the bench, but it was probably still a little bit too early for me," said Ramsay. "I knew what the game meant and that it was a derby. I like those type of games, big games, but it wasn't to be. We've still got them to play at home, so hopefully I can get on next time. With knee injuries you cannot rush, even though I was really keen to come back and get going again. I had to be careful and make sure it was right. I think I've done that this time."
Ramsay was Preston's first signing of the transfer window, but the last to make an appearance this campaign. North End had been on the look out for Potts competition ever since Ryan Lowe's arrival in December 2021. As soon as the call came the way of the ex-Aberdeen man though, the decision was a straightforward one. He's now keen to provide a spark out on the pitch.
"Very easy, yeah," said Ramsay. "There were a few clubs interested, but when I spoke to Ryan he just told me what the club is all about and stuff. It was a five minute call and my mind was made up: I knew I was going to come here. So yeah, I was just really excited. Obviously it wasn't the start I wanted with the injury, but I am back now and ready to go. It's a great group of lads and even when I was back at Liverpool doing my rehab, they were still in contact with me - asking how it's going and when I'll be back.
"They have been brilliant, so I just want to show them what I can do as well - because they've shown me great support. Pottsy has been brilliant. Every game, I think he has been good this season. My main attributes are probably going forward - crosses and going at people one-v-one. So, I think it's maybe a little bit different to his game and yeah, we will see what happens."
The Championship is a rough and ready league, but Ramsay is not fazed one bit and he has no reason to be. This is a player who caught Liverpool's eye when plying his trade at the Pittodrie Stadium, where physical battles were common for a then young pup - looking to make his way.
"Yeah, it's a tough league up in Scotland," said Ramsay. "It's physical and you've got a lot of big lads, so it was quite tough when I first went in at sixteen. But, I adapted quite quickly and I think that's something I'm good at. Hopefully I can show that in this league as well. I believe in myself and I felt like I was ready to make a big move, but it's always a little bit of a shock when you're at a club like Aberdeen. It's still a big club and that, but Liverpool and those kind of clubs are just on a different level. So, it was amazing and I was glad I made the move."
North End's dressing room is the second in two years Ramsay has had to settle into. That has been easy, with him carpooling in from Liverpool with a couple of team mates. Walking into the Liverpool camp for the first time was, understandably, far more daunting: suddenly on the same side as Mohamed Salah and co. He's taken it all in his stride though and looked to Trent Alexander-Arnold for inspiration at every opportunity. You can hardly blame him, can you?
"Yeah, it's just watching him," said Ramsay. "Obviously I have spoken to him and stuff, but the main thing for me was watching him in training - because that's where you really learn. It's alright speaking to him, but you actually learn from watching what he does day in, day out. Even off the pitch, like what he is eating and it's just trying to replicate that. If it's good enough for him, then it's going to be good enough for me isn't it? So yeah, he's a class player and I do look up to him."