Arsene Wenger believes that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to improve his consistency and focus as a wide player before being considered as an option in the centre of the midfield.
The summer signing from Southampton has impressed in the last four weeks with goal scoring performances against Shrewsbury and Olympiakos, while also stealing the headlines for Stuart Pearces’ under-21 side. However, despite showing flashes of brilliance, Arsene Wenger insists that there is no rush to endow the 17-year-old with even more responsibility.
Speaking to Arsenal Player the Frenchman spoke about the areas his young protégé can improve:
“Overall I think he needs to add some ingredients to his game that will be absolutely necessary at the top level. He has a basic talent, nobody can dispute that. I am very happy for having brought him here.”
Hinting at a slight lapse in concentration against Olympiakos, where Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to pick-up at a short corner, from which the Greeks then scored, Wenger continued:
“Of course we want commitment and urgency that is requested in the Premier League. A lack of attention for one second can cost you in the modern game.”
While Wenger has been quoted in the past suggesting the England youngster could play in the centre of the park alongside Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, he also made clear that such a time was still a long way off, regardless of his recent and rapid progress.
“He is ahead of schedule and I think in the next few months he will add to his game. Let’s not be too quick. He has a fantastic crossing ability; he can cross the ball and chip it in.
“I don’t personally think he’s ready yet at all to play in a central position in the Premier League. Let’s get him up to scratch first on the flank before he plays in the middle.”