Search

Oxlade-Chamberlain can be the next Steven Gerrard, insists Wenger

08:00 12 January 2014

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

2013 Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will mature into a central midfielder and could be the English successor to Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.

In the same week that team-mate Theo Walcott was ruled out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the Gunners winger made his long-awaited return.

Oxlade-Chamberlain turned out for the under-21s against Fulham in his first outing since injuring his knee in the defeat to Aston Villa in the opening Premier League game of the season.

The 20-year-old would seem to be the perfect replacement for Walcott for both club and country, especially with this summer’s World Cup in Brazil on the horizon, but Arsenal manager Wenger believes the two Southampton academy graduates are very different players.

“He has a good opportunity now,” the Frenchman said of Oxlade-Chamberlain, adding: “I think he will be in Roy Hodgson’s plans as he can play central and wide. On that front England do not have too many players.

“He had a big impact when he came on in that [friendly] game against Brazil [in June 2013], especially in central midfield, and deep in central midfield his future will be there.

“He has a good long ball, penetration from deep and a good quality to distribute and penetrate individually. Certainly he has the same qualities to Steven Gerrard.”

However, Wenger insisted that the midfielder’s transformation should be allowed to happend naturally.

“At the moment he is still in formation,” the Arsenal manager said.

“It is good for his education as he plays left, right and central when needed. After 23 or 24 you settle in a definite position.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain could be included in tomorrow’s squad to face Aston Villa for the first meeting since the Gunners were handed a home defeat in the season opener.

That reverse sparked a furious backlash from fans, questioning Wenger’s leadership at a time when he’d failed to sign any players in the summer transfer window.

Soon after, however, he broke the club’s transfer record by spending £42.5million on German playmaker Mesut Ozil, while also re-signing former midfielder Mathieu Flamini on a free.

The positive impact has seen reverberations throughout this season as the Gunners have led the Premier League for much of the campaign and, though they were knocked off the top spot yesterday when Chelsea beat Hull 2-0 to leapfrog them, a win at Villa Park will return the north Londoners to the summit once more.

“We lost the first game of the season and you kill straight away any hope for people, so of course I can understand it,” said Wenger.

“It was not only linked with the result, but it was linked with the fact we had not bought any players and people knew we had some money.”

Wenger had spent the summer trying to sign a striker, seeing interest in Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Demba Ba come to nothing.

With the January transfer window now in full swing, the need for a striker is still there, especially after the injury to Walcott.

Olivier Giroud has also been out recently, but could play against Villa, while Lukas Podolski is only just returning from an injury which kept him out since August.

And while he’s interested in finding “something special” Wenger admits the mid-season market is not the best time to do business.

“A club like ours to find players who strengthen our team in January, it is nearly impossible, honestly,” said Wenger, who has been linked with a loan move for Real Madrid starlet Alvaro Morata as well as £32million-rated Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.

“It is not even about the money. It is just about the potential.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 15:41

Goalkeeper Megen Lynch is expecting a physical battle when Spurs Ladies host C&K Basildon on Sunday and says her team-mates will have to earn the right to play the football that has taken them to the top of the league.

Yesterday, 12:00

Ex-Tottenham coach Les Ferdinand is tipping Marcus Edwards to be “the next big thing” at White Hart Lane, and possibly at international level too.

Yesterday, 10:30

Stevie Eskinazi admits it may be hard to top the satisfaction of helping Middlesex to County Championship glory in the rest of his career.

Yesterday, 09:00

Harry Winks believes Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy is ideally suited to his talents – and he is itching to get more opportunities to play alongside Tottenham’s internationals.

Yesterday, 07:00

Hampstead are setting the early pace at the top of London Division Two North-West – and head coach Peter Breen believes his side will hit another gear if they can maintain their momentum for the next fortnight.

Wed, 17:10

Teenage speedster Brandon Abraham narrowly missed out on his third Rookie Trophy in the final race of the British Super One Series.

Wed, 17:05

While most cricket fans inside Lord’s and beyond were entranced by the exciting spectacle that unfolded on Friday, there were also some voicing outrage.

Wed, 16:30

Wingate & Finchley came from behind to beat Kingstonian 2-1 at home on Tuesday, securing their third league win from four games and establishing themselves in the top half of the Ryman League Premier Division table.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now