Oxlade-Chamberlain can handle the pressure at Arsenal – Wenger
Arsene Wenger full of praise for teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after a series of sparkling displays for the Gunners
Arsene Wenger admits he is thrilled by the impact Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had for Arsenal this season, saying that the teenager is not fazed by big games.
The 18-year-old announced himself to Gunners fans with a sparkling display against Manchester United in the Premier League in January, when his substitution in the 73rd minute sparked an angry response from the Emirates faithful.
Oxlade-Chamberlain then netted twice during Arsenal’s 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn Rovers – and Wenger admits he has been surprised by how quickly the Southampton youth product has slotted into first-team action.
“He is a little bit like a boxer in his upper body. He has not played too many games up until now because he was on a learning curve but he has a super quality and is not fazed by the [biggest] occasions,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website.
“To put him in the team against any opposition – it is just natural for him to be there. For a young player, sometimes they waste a lot of time getting used to the pressure. He looks like he can take it.
“There are very few players like that, players who look like they have always played in the team.”
Wenger is wary of asking too much from Oxlade-Chamberlain while he is still so young – but is convinced he will make the England squad for Euro 2012.
“Physically we have to monitor him because after every game he can have a little problem,” the manager said.
“We know now that a large percentage of players who play a lot of games between the ages of 18 and 21 have bony stress responses. I never expected the number to be so high.
“[It happens] because your skeleton is not completely finished and the bones are not completely developed to absorb the kinds of shocks you get in the Premier League.
“We have to be cautious about that. But you are always in a trap when the player is as good as he is, like Jack Wilshere is too.
“You cannot take him out of the team, you have to keep him there. They can win you games. Until the end of the season there is no problem and if he continues to play like this I am convinced he will go to Euro 2012.”