Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: What the Arsenal Wunderkind Is Saying This Week
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is a name that sends the hearts of Arsenal fans racing and tickles the collective imagination of English fans.
He is just 18, fresh from the minting factory in a manner of speaking.
In fact, Piers Morgan, that Arsenal fan—better known as CNN's successor to the venerable Larry King—whose fickleness as a fan must send the Chameleon scrambling in search of some obscure color, a future modulating option for when Morgan challenges it further, said as much.
Wenger signing ANOTHER kid for big money? When will he realise we need experienced defence, not more young strikers? #Arsenal #ChamberlainAug 8
The diligent reader is sure to find similar such tweets from those corners of Arsenal's fandom where being a fan means complaining about all and everything.
After about three months of grooming, Wenger began to gradually introduce Oxlade-Chamberlain into the big games, and since the Manchester United match, which Arsenal lost 2-1 at home, the lad hasn't looked back.
He has seized the opportunity with both hands.
Now talks among English fans is that he should (or must) be included in the England 2012 squad. For any person who has seen Oxlade-Chamberlain play, this isn't simply hype, but if it is, it is wholly deserved.
This week, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been reflecting on life at Arsenal thus far.
On playing top-flight football, he says:
I've played so many games of football now and even though it is at a higher level, at the end of the day football is football. You are just playing with better players.
As soon as you feel comfortable and confident you just carry on as normal. I felt comfortable in the Manchester United game because I thought we came out in the second half and played really well.
Playing in a team like Arsenal helps massively having all of these players around you giving you advice. When they are playing well, you feel comfortable and it helps you to play well too.
Concerning his relationship with his Arsenal teammates, he says:
I can learn from all of them. I look at Theo, Gervinho and Robin as the three main attacking players and more recently I have been watching Tomas Rosicky because he's been outstanding,” he said.
Robin has taken most of the headlines and rightfully so with all of his fantastic goals but quietly I think Tomas has been playing absolutely amazing.He is getting along well at Arsenal.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
He offers the following concerning what it meant for him to play in the midfield against AC Milan, a game Arsenal won 3-0 after staging a remarkable comeback display that just fell short of the one goal Arsenal needed to overturn a four-goal first leg deficit.
"I started my career as a central midfielder and the way that he gets the ball in midfield, turns and runs at people just makes things happen."
Wasn't it a it little intimidating? "It was," he says, but also a dream to play in the middle again."
"It was a dream yes, but it was also a bit nerve-wracking because I haven't played there since Under-18s football I think. It is where I have grown up though so it was nice to go back there."
Central midfield is where AOC's father thinks the lad will end up playing.
I think my Dad was more excited about me playing in that game than any other because he thinks I am going to drift into central midfield more as I grow older.
It was nice to play there, I just knew I had to work hard and do other bits of my game. Sometimes when you play on the wing a lot you forget other parts that you have to do in the middle.
So how do the two positions compare?
It is a different work rate as well. When you are playing on the wing you sprint a lot, recover and then sprint again, whereas when you are playing in midfield it is non-stop. Maybe it is slower running but it is here, there and everywhere.
So it was different, a big shock to me but obviously playing against Milan with their players was a really good experience and one I won't forget.
What about Arsenal's current run of good results?
"We have had some really good wins [lately], away at Anfield, at home to Tottenham and Newcastle, and AC Milan too even though we didn't qualify. It drives you on to want more of that success."
So how would he grade his journey so far at Arsenal? "Good," he says.
I think it's gone really well in terms of bedding in with the boys and into the squad. Not so much as a first-team regular as obviously as I am still young and there are lot of good players around me doing really well.
I just feel part of the squad now, am really comfortable with all of the lads, the fans and feel a massive part of it.
I can see myself being a part of Arsenal's future. That is where I would like to be anyway and I am going to work as hard as I can to make sure I achieve that.
To be part of that future, he acknowledges that he needs to do more work to develop his game.
Obviously it is a big step up from League One last year. With the boss bringing me here in the first place that gave me confidence. He thought I had some ability so to have his trust gives me a bit of confidence and you can work on that.
I have belief in myself as well but I know I still have a lot of hard work to do. There are just little things in your game that you don't maybe know when you are younger and you might not see in League One.
You make mistakes and you get punished for them in the Premier League. You are always learning and it has been a good education so far.
The "ANOTHER kid" has become an integral part of Arsenal's first team in no time, which reminds me: When Thomas Eisfeld was signed from Borussia Dortmund this January, the reaction of some fans was similar to Piers Morgan's above.
It is embarrassing.
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Embarrassing because it will be the same fans who will shout the loudest when Eisfeld begins to produce for Arsenal. They will also be the first to boo someone for daring to keep the latest god-man (θεῖος ἀνήρ) on the bench.
My advise has always been for moderation.
Meanwhile, we can only wish Oxlade-Chamberlain greater things to come in a career that already has begun well.
I will like to use this opportunity to wish Fabrice Muamba well and quick recovery from the misfortune that came upon him in the Tottenham-Bolton match.
Recover well and quickly. We will love to see you grace the EPL pitches again and soon.
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