Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should never have gone to the Euros and he shouldn’t be considered for any England matches in the coming months. The reported wages he’s currently on at Arsenal is undeserving and the club and the FA would have done well to completely protect him from the demand from fans to see something bright and exciting.

The player set the benchmark incredibly high for himself following the performance against Manchester United last Premier League season and the wonderful display against AC Milan. But that should have been it. No trip to Euro 2012 before he was ready and no pay hike that dwarfs a huge number of veterans across Europe.

Forget the criticism of Arsenal’s wage structure for a moment, this is once again about a player who could fall into a trap of failing to live up to the hype of a nation.

At the time it was frustrating for Arsenal fans, but maybe Arsene Wenger was spot on to hook him during that game against Manchester United. He knows what he’s doing but unfortunately the player’s development and first season with the club coincided with the then worst season under the Frenchman’s reign.

Wenger says Oxlade-Chamberlain can play centrally as well as from the wings, but what we’re seeing isn’t anything new. The player has performed well on one or two occasions from the wide position, but largely he’s been disappointing. But is that the way we should be looking at it? A 19-year-old who is disappointing compared to what? A full England international on huge wages and a regular member of the first team?

Oxlade-Chamberlain will continue his education out on the wing because it’s the right thing to do; not because he can’t play centrally and make an impact, but who would he displace over the three starters in the midfield? He may be called upon when circumstances force the manager to do so, but his pace and direct play is a benefit to Arsenal where he currently plays.

But the issue isn’t where Oxlade-Chamberlain plays for Arsenal: we’ve seen it with Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela and many others. The problem is that the player’s development may be hindered by the demand for much more. He’s clearly not ready to perform every week at the highest level, and his display against Wigan on the weekend was arguably his best performance since the away win at Liverpool at the start of the season.

He’s undoubtedly a player who is a better choice on the flanks than some of Wenger’s other options, but that is once again a debate about the manager’s activity in the transfer market. He was always after Oxlade-Chamberlain with the view for the long-term, while I’m totally confident that the manager had no intention of giving the player his debut in that 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford.

It will be the same with Wilfried Zaha if Wenger gets his target in the next window, and once again it will provide plenty of demand from fans to see a new signing who has been hyped to the hill and back. It’s not the way football should be in this country, but Wenger has had to deal with the need to accelerate a player’s development.

Cesc Fabregas was a one-off, a superstar at 19 who could have controlled the midfield of any team in world football. Jack Wilshere is another and may go on to have the same impact at Arsenal that Fabregas did. But Oxlade-Chamberlain is just a youngster who happens to be one of the top of his class. He’s ready for one step forward, not five at a time.

It’s easy to overanalyse the player’s contributions on the pitch following his past 12 months, but it would have been so much easier if the player had just been left alone to quietly get on with his game.


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  • rickthegooner
    1 year ago

    The Ox has made a very promising start. Arsenal are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. For every opinion like yours claiming that he is over paid, i’ll show you blogs slatting the board for not being competitive in the transfer wage market.

    Reply
  • temigunga
    1 year ago

    I think this is a frustrated fan. Ox is good, Walcott too. The problem with arsenal is over-dependence on those young guys! Lack of quality senior players is what is missing at Arsenal. If Arsenal had a big squared any misfiring player should have to be replaced the soonest possible. Burt lack of options is what is killing Arsenal. A replacement/substitute bench should be as health as the first eleven to expect something!

    Reply
  • richard
    1 year ago

    Your blog has no real direction and those statements you make you don’t back up with evidence. Until the last two games oxlaide chamberlain had more game time for England than arsenal. In those last two games he has shown the form and the ability that got him plaudits last season. Leave the kid alone he is only 19 lets see how he develops.

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      1 year ago

      Correct. Wenger has over reacted – having played Wilshere far too often … against the advice of the back room staff. He now plays Ox too seldom. Ox needs to play more regularly and in a position where he can settle … like right wing (for now). One of Wenger’s many problems is he can’t wait to get hold of a player and convert him to play somewhere else. Plenty of examples … if you want them ?

      Reply
      • mark
        1 year ago

        yes its ridiculous how reliant we are on such a great young talent as wilshere, especially in light of his injury troubles. in the match against wigan he just looked stuffed. and that match was a great opportunity to rest him and give ramsey or coquelin a start. its really poor squad management by the club. it’s win-win – wilshere gets a rest, and ramsey/coquelin, players we are investing in, remain happy.

        Reply
        • mark
          1 year ago

          …not to mention rosicky.

          Reply
  • Thomas Hallett
    1 year ago

    I don’t think any of you have read this article from the right angle. I didn’t criticise the player once, rather I tried to defend any criticism of him and what may come in the future.

    Pointing out that a 19-year-old isn’t deserving of £52k a week isn’t taking a swipe at the player, because how many players that age deserve and have earned that sort of money?

    I’m not frustrated with the player, I’m frustrated at how much pressure has been placed on him (not by Wenger) in such a short space of time. No matter how well he performs for England, he shouldn’t be playing for them at this stage.

    Reply
  • Humphrey
    1 year ago

    Spot on .Some people claimed at the end of last season on arsenal blogs that he was better than theo but this season his very poor passing techniques have been exposed and zaha is goin to be the same . If u can dribble past championship or league one defences that doesnt mean u are ready to start every game for a champions league team.

    Reply
  • sam
    1 year ago

    do you wanna swap him with james milner?
    he earns 3 times what alex is earning now.
    Humphrey, haven’t you noticed that he was sulking for not being picked? now gervinho and ramsey are dropped he started performing.he can surely dribble past any player not just championship player.

    Reply
  • mark
    1 year ago

    while arsenal is all about opportunity and development for youth, at the same time, that opportunity and dependence on youth does hinder there development and compromise their longevity to the team and in the game in several ways.
    a young player who is expected to start often and deliver results will mean that naturally development and the focus on making a player better will become a secondary concern.
    regarding longevity, i refer to a players commitment to the club. when a player establishes himself in the team at such a young age, and the expectations on the team and player are so high, that player will become frustrated and disillusioned with the club. so best that players like chamberlain are somewhat removed from that effect. then there is physical longevity which im sure will suffer.

    Reply

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