Stuart Pearce has predicted a bright future for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the winger inspired England Under-21s to a 4-1 victory over Israel in Monday's friendly at Oakwell.
Oxlade-Chamberlain - who was a big-money mover from Southampton to Arsenal in the summer -came off the bench at half-time with Pearce's Young Lions trailing 1-0, provided the assists for their three goals from open play in the second half as well as earning a penalty which was converted by Nathan Delfouneso.
"I thought he gave us a real lift when he came on," head coach Pearce said of the 18-year-old. "His training has looked very, very good when he has been here - we had an 11 v 11 game on the second day when we had got together and after 10 minutes of that I said to Steve (Wigley, Pearce's assistant) 'this kid has got to play`."
He added: "His performance was outstanding just in that 10-minute snapshot. He has got a bright future and he played very well here - although we have to nurture all of them, to make sure they all have a bright future."
Pearce felt he had truly seen a game of two halves after his team recovered from what he described as an "awful" opening 45 minutes.
An inexperienced England line-up - featuring nine changes from last Thursday's 6-0 European Championship qualifying triumph against Azerbaijan - struggled to get going in the early stages and went a goal down in the 25th minute when Israel launched a swift counter-attack which was rounded off by Mohammad Klibat's curling strike beyond Ben Amos.
With Oxlade-Chamberlain amongst their ranks, though, the home side responded emphatically after the break, Martyn Waghorn equalising with a header in the 58th minute and Marvin Sordell firing in a thunderbolt moments later.
An 82nd-minute spot-kick from Delfouneso and a finish from fellow substitute Henri Lansbury in injury time put the gloss on the win, although Pearce was making no excuses for the way things had started.
He said: "I think it was a strange one for a manager. I've had to sit through a first-half performance which was awful in all aspects of what we tried to achieve. But we drew a line under that at half-time and obviously the second half was much, much better.
"All-round we were better as a team, so it was a case of putting the first half to bed, learning from it and moving on."
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