Rice tips youngster to shine

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Football News

Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice is in no doubt Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can make a big impact for the Gunners and England after netting his first Champions League goal in Wednesday night's 2-1 Group F win over Olympiacos at Emirates Stadium.

The 18-year-old £10million summer signing from Southampton had opened his Arsenal account in last week's Carling Cup win over Shrewsbury and produced another impressive display. Rice believes the youngster can follow in the footsteps of England winger Theo Walcott, to play a big role for both club and country in the years ahead.

"From Arsenal supporters' point of view, they are going to be seeing a lot of this boy," said Rice.

"He has a big, big challenge to now get in front of Theo. I know that Theo is a very strong-willed guy as well and he won't give in easy. It all bodes well for England anyway."

Rice added: "Alex can go inside, he can go outside, he's got that injection of pace and I think what he needs now is to be consistent in his play. I am sure that is something he will be working on because he's certainly not a stupid boy.

"He has good people around him and they are telling him all the right things. Alex is very friendly with Theo and no doubt he will give him the benefit of his experience as well."

Rice admitted Arsenal had been somewhat sloppy in the way they allowed Olympiacos back into the match.

"You can't turn around and say we had all of the game because that would be unfair," he said.

"The first 20-25 minutes we were really in it well, but after that for about 15-20 minutes we maybe lost our way and they came back into it. From a defender's point of view, the goal was really poor. Second half we had to knuckle in, fight and get our shape right.

"It is unfortunate we didn't get the third, but we also had opportunities on breakaways in the second half. They came, they waited for us, they broke us up in the middle of the park and in fairness they did well."

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Shrewsbury Town
European News
League Cup
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Theo Walcott

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