Wenger: We must use The Ox wisely

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Arsene Wenger has hinted that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could feature more regularly in the Premier League in the near future and stressed that if the midfielder performs well, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be included in Fabio Capello’s England plans for Euro 2012.

Perhaps learning from the huge media storm caused by Theo Walcott’s inclusion in the World Cup squad for the 2006 World Cup, and the intense pressure that was placed firmly on his young (and injury prone) shoulders, the boss did also stress that there was little to be gained by capping a player who did not have the right experience.

“I would like to see [him go to Euro 2012] but let’s go step by step,” said the boss. “I think in England you always take the fast track. To go to the European Championships you need experience in the Premier League so it is important he gets that first.

“He is not far [from being ready for the Premier League]. At the moment we have been quite consistent with the team we put out because we are on a good run and have had no injuries.

“I believe he is still in a period where training every day with top players is important for him to improve. He has quality when he plays in games – he is not fazed by the importance of them. He’s the kind of personality that makes you think he can play on the big stage.

“You have seen him already before Christmas and I have no restrictions at all. For me, if I need him he will play. I don’t think it is too early for him to play anymore.”

Having openly admitted that excluding Walcott from his World Cup 2010 squad was a mistake, it seems unlikely that Capello will leave the in-form winger behind for a second successive tournament. The question that the Italian really has to ask himself is whether he is  also willing to take a risk on The Ox; a player whose talent is as raw and tasty as steak tartare.

If Arseblog News were fond of a flutter (and we are, just ask our friends PaddyPower…hint, hint), we’d bank on AOC probably staying closer to home next summer and being selected by Stuart Pearce for the Team GB Olympic side.

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