The youngster has impressed with some fantastic appearances this season and has the potential to be a first team regular already. But Wenger is careful not to play the Englishman too much otherwise he may suffer a similar fate as Jack Wilshere who has had to sit out the entire 2011/12 campaign so far.
‘The Ox’ played in an attacking midfielder role against AC Milan and performed admirably, constantly threatening the Italian giants and even won a penalty for Van Persie to convert. While fans are eager to see more of the 18-year-old, Wenger will continue to be cautious over his development and feels he still has a lot to learn.
Wenger told Arsenal’s official website:
His feet are on the ground but we have to manage him in a responsible way as well. The problem when you have a talented player like that is that everybody wants him to play every single game. If you do that then he will be injured.
I don’t think he is ready yet to play in a [central midfield] position in a consistent way. I am a great admirer but it is difficult to slow the enthusiasm down on the expectation level.
Honestly, he is 18 years old. Look anywhere in Europe and there are some talented 18-year-olds who play in the Champions League. He is already ahead because we give him a chance.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is a firm believer that Oxlade-Chamberlain should be included into England’s Euro 2012 squad. He has witnessed ‘Chambo’s’ meteoric rise to stardom first hand since Pardew him gave his debut at Southampton as a 16-year-old.
The Toon boss told The Mirror:
Chamberlain should go with England to Euro 2012.
He’s an absolutely outstanding player. I had him at Southampton, and gave him his debut at 16.
He’s got good family behind him and he’s a player who not only is going to be a good advert for English football in terms of his ability, but as a person as well.
He’ll be a great ambassador for the country.
Physically I think he’s better developed for it than Theo Walcott was (at 16) when he went to the World Cup.
Whether he gets enough match-time in the next 11 games to go to the Championships, Arsene Wenger will be the one to decide that.
He didn’t have that same physical strength at Southampton, not so much. But now you can see he’s physically a little bit bigger.
He’s got a great future ahead of him. And I believe he is capable of doing a job for England. I don’t give many people debuts at 16. He just stood out that he was going to be an amazing player.
It’s a shame he’s not still at Southampton because I think another year there probably would have been better for him.
But he’s gone to a great club and he’s starting to do really, really well.
He’s one of those players, where you ponder, shall we play him? Is he too young? When you debate it with your coaching staff, you decide – no he isn’t.
Steward Pierce also know’s of the Ox’s quality from the U21’s where he has impressed in his appearances at that level, and the stand-in England manager has admitted that Arsenal’s starlet is very much in his Euro 2012 plans.
I can understand that Wenger doesn’t want to overplay the youngster but I feel he should start a few more matches now after being benched against Liverpool and Spurs. It was a surprise to see him start centrally against Milan, but he certainly performed well and hopefully he will start against Newcastle.
He is a more consistent performer than Gervinho and Walcott, and can be just as dangerous too. The fact that he can play centrally too further highlights his ability to play the ball around but he will most likely remain out wide with Rosicky and Ramsey already fighting for the attacking midfielder role.
Do you think he should go to Euro 2012? He will most likely not be a starting player so in terms of fatigue he should come back to Arsenal in good condition ahead of next season, but the experience he will gain would be invaluable in his development. Go for it Ox!