The 18 year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has played in the last three games for Arsenal and has been extremely impressive in every one of them. Arsene Wenger praised his immense improvement and maturity after yesterdays contribution against Blackburn where he terrorised the Rovers defence and also scored his first two League goals for the Gunners.
Chamberlain had a late fitness test on his bruised knee, and Wenger admitted that he wouldn’t have taken any chances with his new young star if there was a serious problem. He said: “I would not have taken a gamble today. In a very short period of time he has become an important player who can make a difference. I rested him in the last 20 minutes at Bolton, so he was not pushed to his limits. The medical staff said there was no risk he could damage his knee, so that is why I decided to play him.
“He was not ready earlier in the season. He has made a big step in the last months. He produces team play, he is not only going forwards, he is contributing to the defending and has improved very quickly. He is a fighter as well, with personality. He is much more mature now.”
Despite Wenger’s praise the 18 year-old is keeping his feet on the ground, and refuses to listen to talk about him joining the senior England squad in time to play in the Euro2012 tournament this summer. When asked about the possibility he replied: “Not really. First things first, I have to keep my place in the Arsenal team and keep doing well for this football club.
“I am involved in the U21 squad at the moment, so that is what I am focusing on. Until that happens, I can’t really comment on that.
“Obviously it would be nice, it’s what I aspire to do as a footballer, but I have to keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard.”
It is very unusual to see a brilliant prospect being just as mature off the pitch as he is on it. This young man is going to go far if he stays this level-headed.