Oxlade-Chamberlain learning fast
Published 30/04/2013 | 15:37
Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has called for everyone to be patient as he looks to "kick on" again next season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has certainly come a long way in a short time since being signed from Southampton two years ago as a raw talent by Arsene Wenger. However, after being called up into the senior England squad for the first time ahead of the 2012 European Championships, the 19-year-old attacker has made only 11 starts in the Barclays Premier League this term, and just one since February.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, though, feels time is very much on his side, saying in an interview with the official Arsenal matchday programme: "It has been difficult."
He added: "There is always pressure, but maybe people forget that I am only 19 and will still be 19 at the start of next season. When you have a good first season, especially at 18, people hype you up and really want to see you kick on. They expect you to play lots of games and do really well.
"I have tried to carry on from last season, but sometimes you have to realise that you are a young lad and have a lot to learn. The experience of being in a club and league like this is a great education at this age."
Oxlade-Chamberlain has made the difference with his dynamic play when being introduced off the bench, notably when helping to turn the game against Norwich at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago when the team were losing 1-0 heading into the final five minutes.
The teenager feels having players who can make a difference on the bench can only aid Arsenal's quest for Champions League qualification, which will continue at relegated QPR on Saturday following the 1-1 draw against title winners Manchester United.
"You always want to start but your responsibility when you are on the bench, especially as a winger, is to come on, change the game and help drive the boys forward, that is what I have been trying to do, to make things happen and add a different dynamic to the game," he said.
"I have been working on things like my team play, my defensive play and getting back into the right positions off the ball and these things aren't often noticed.
"I started pre-season playing in central roles and have played there in training, so I am trying to develop that as well. I am happy with the way things are going and the most important thing is that the team finishes where we need to. I am happy to be a part of that."