Arsene Wenger still expects Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to develop into a 'great player' at Arsenal, despite his early season struggles this term.
The 19-year-old midfielder has made an indifferent start to 2012/13, with his latest under-par performance coming in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
Oxlade-Chamberlain flitted in and out of the game, and whilst looking bright in patches, his overall display left Gunners fans rather underwhelmed, in light of the early promise shown when the talented teenager first made his breakthrough at the Emirates Stadium.
"Alex has not played a lot recently. He lacks a bit of physical fitness. He tried at Villa and in patches he looked dangerous," said Wenger.
"He's learning his trade and he's a very talented young boy. I believe he will be a great player but at the moment he is learning his job."
Already capped at full international level, the young Englishman is still coming to grips with the weight of expectation in this country, as well as the pressure that comes with playing in the fish bowl that is the Premier League.
And Wenger, who is keen to protect all his aspiring stars of the future at Arsenal, was quick to defend Oxlade-Chamberlain's impact, stressing that fans should not expect too much from him at this stage of his career.
"Basically, he's 19 years old and there will be ups and downs, of course, but I believe he will be a great player," added the Gunners boss. "You need patience with every young player or you don't bring them out.
"That's why it's so different in our job where you see the demands of people who want you to bring young players out but also they have no patience so it's a bit of a contradiction."
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