Chamberlain hot on Rooney's trail

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"I think Chamberlain is the next Wayne Rooney. And he can play anywhere." Graeme Souness

Another glittering performance from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has sparked further talk that the 18-year-old can be the real deal, and realise his potential unlike so many shining lights of English football.

Chamberlain has made the step up from League One to the Champions League in seamless fashion, and such has been his impact comparisons with Wayne Rooney have already flooded in.

Arsene Wenger wasted little time in January in comparing the Arsenal protege to Rooney at the same age, with Souness the latest to bestow such a compliment upon Chamberlain.

In terms of similarities between the two players, the pair are poles apart. Rooney began as a tenacious, fiery forward with a burst of speed and a stinging shot while Chamberlain has earned a reputation for being a direct runner with an eye for goal, while also possessing an all-round passing range.

The 18-year-old combines attributes both from Rooney when he began setting English football alight, and of the natural No.10 he has evolved into. What separates Chamberlain from the Rooney of 2004, is he's still waiting for his crowning moment as a youngster.

A succession of impressive performances might be wetting the lips of many onlookers, but until he announces himself on the big stage, few will take comparisons with Rooney seriously.

Rooney did that same thing eight years ago at Euro 2004 in Lisbon, scoring twice and providing an assist for Paul Scholes against Croatia to announce himself on the European stage.

With Chamberlain likely to be a strong contender to make England's European Championship squad, the summer finals could work as perfect symmetry; the ideal stage to enhance his burgeoning reputation.

But until he produces that stella showing, then comparisons with Rooney should be put on ice.

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Wayne Rooney
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