Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he has struggled to cope with expectations in the past but is learning to cope with the pressure at Arsenal.
The midfielder joined the Gunners as a 17-year-old after impressing at Southampton and was widely-regarded as one of the top young talents in England at the time. Oxlade-Chamberlain says coping with expectations that come with top-level football has been tough.
“As I’ve got older, the pressure on myself and the expectations go up,” he told Arsenal.com.
“You need to find a way to manage that the best for yourself and I’ll be honest, it’s not until recently, the last six months to a year or so, that I’ve fully got my head around how to go about that with dealing with people’s expectations on me and my own expectations.
“It can be hard and I still think I’m quite young, I’ve just turned 23 and now it’s focusing on how to push myself further and better myself as a player.
“I’m the type of person that tends to care a lot about what people are saying and what people are thinking. I think as I’ve grown older I’ve learnt that you really can’t please everyone.”
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The 23-year-old has also revealed his dedication to the game and the lengths he goes to to analyse his performances, be they good or bad.
“After every game, no matter what – whether it’s a win, a loss or a draw – the first thing I do when I go home is I get on the TV and watch the whole 90 minutes again before I do anything,” he added.
“Whether I’ve had the best game of my life or the worst game of my life I always need to look back on the game and see what I did well or could have done better.
“That’s what I do and that’s how seriously I take my football – it’s not a job, it really is a lifestyle. It’s 24 hour, on and off the pitch. You have to think about what you’re doing and how that will affect you going into training.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain was on target last time out, scoring Arsenal’s fourth goal in their EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest. The winger ran clear to cap an excellent move and will be hoping to build on that goal and force his way back into Wenger’s first team plans.