Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has pleaded with the club's fans to be patient with him as he tries to cement a place in the first-team.

The Gunners signed Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton as a 17-year-old. Last year was the making of "The Ox", as the fans call him, but this year he has been unable to continue the form he showed in his debut season.

As an 18-year-old he burst onto the scenes after a string of great performances for the club, but this season he has failed to cement a first-team place after facing competition from the likes of Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Gervinho.

The 19-year-old has only made 11 starts in the Premier League this season and has mainly been used as a substitute, but has still been able to put his foot in the international door as he is now a regular in the England set-up.

Despite being a regular feature for England, Oxlade-Chamberlain believes he still has a lot to learn.

"It has been difficult," he said in an interview with the official Arsenal matchday programme. "There is always pressure, but maybe people forget that I am only 19 and will still be 19 at the start of next season.

"When you have a good first season, especially at 18, people hype you up and really want to see you kick on. They expect you to play lots of games and do really well.

"I have tried to carry on from last season, but sometimes you have to realise that you are a young lad and have a lot to learn.

"The experience of being in a club and league like this is a great education at this age."

Despite not being able to cement a starting spot in the Arsenal team, Oxlade-Chamberlain insists he is happy with what he contributes to the team.

"You always want to start but your responsibility when you are on the bench, especially as a winger, is to come on, change the game and help drive the boys forward, that is what I have been trying to do, to make things happen and add a different dynamic to the game," he added.

"I have been working on things like my team play, my defensive play and getting back into the right positions off the ball and these things aren't often noticed.

"I started pre-season playing in central roles and have played there in training, so I am trying to develop that as well.

"I am happy with the way things are going and the most important thing is that the team finishes where we need to. I am happy to be a part of that."


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