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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would relish role like Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Sunday, January 26, 2014
1:03 PM

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is “excited” by the prospect of honing his skills in central midfield for Arsenal.

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The 20-year-old made his first start since August in Friday’s FA Cup win over Coventry, moving from his usual wing role to central midfield alongside Jack Wilshere.

Manager Arsene Wenger has previously revealed that he sees Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future for club and country in more of central role like Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, and the England international relished a rare chance to show what he could there against the Sky Blues.

“It’s not for me to say [where I play], but it was nice to have a run-out in the middle,” he said.

“I’ve just got to make sure that wherever I play I give the best performance I can, whether it’s out wide or in the middle.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he had to curb his attacking instincts against Coventry.

“The way we played [against Coventry] was me and Jack, who are usually attack-minded players.

“Obviously Mathieu [Flamini] and Mikel [Arteta] didn’t play, so I had to be more sensible and hold my position when Jack went forward, and vice-versa.

“It all depends who’s around you. When you’ve got someone like Mathieu playing next to you it gives you more of a licence to run and drive forward.

“In the future, if I do play in midfield, that’s definitely an attribute that I won’t want to lose.

“I’ll always want to run with the ball, drive and attract defenders and draw them out of position.”

He added: “It’s something I’d like to do in the future. I don’t know whether I’ll end up there, that’s for people like Arsene Wenger to decide, but it’s definitely something I’d be excited at the prospect of.

“I’ve grown up playing in midfield. It’s only recently that I’ve gone out to the wing and that’s been a really good experience for me as well.

“Wherever I’m put on the pitch I’ve just go to make sure I give the best performance that I can.”

The Gunners will have to be at their best for the remainder of the season as they bid to fend of Manchester City and Chelsea in the title race.

Southampton are next up on Tuesday, and Oxlade-Chamberlain insists Arsenal are not looking too far ahead.

“It’s very cliche but it’s one game at a time. If you look into the future too much you lose sight of the next game and now that’s Southampton on Tuesday and that will be a tough one,” the midfielder said.

“All you can do is look to the next game and make sure you get the right results and make sure you keep plodding along like that step-by-step.

“Hopefully come the end of the season we finish where we want to finish.”

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