Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed against AC Milan
Arsene Wenger has attempted to suppress claims that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could lead England to Euro 2012 glory from the centre of the field, insisting the youngster is not ready to play such a role for club or country.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has spent the majority of his short career at Arsenal operating out wide, but he moved into a central three against AC Milan to great effect. The 18-year-old won a penalty as the Gunners won 3-0, and his eye for a pass instantly got former players purring over his potential.
Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas stated his belief that Oxlade-Chamberlain should now become a fixture in the middle of the Gunners' midfield, insisting he looked natural there against Milan. Nicholas also felt that, much like Jack Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain could breathe invention into a stagnant England side.
Wenger does agree that the teenager will end up becoming a central figure for his Arsenal side, but he is adamant that the player needs more time to develop out wide before moving inside.
"I don't think he is ready to play in this role personally but he will certainly develop into it in the future," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"He will play [there] again but I think he has to play where he is needed basically. The most important thing at the moment is that he develops well.
"He had a good game but he still has many things to add to his game. That is the purpose now for his work, especially the fitness, the physical intensity to add to his game. That will certainly come if he works hard.
"You are not a star after five or ten games, let's let him play 100 times and then we will talk again."
Arsenal host Newcastle on Monday as they look to strengthen their bid for a top four finish, and Wenger is expecting to have few injury problems. Theo Walcott is expected to recover from a bruised hip, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta will return, while Kieran Gibbs will have a late test on his groin.
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Gervinho/Ryo AOC/Wilsher Ramsey/Wallcot
Santos/Gibbs TV/Mig Kons/Bartley Carl/Yenarris
PS: Not included Eisfield/Lansbury/Wellington and few others who are with reserves and crying for a chance.
In Wenger We Trust!
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