Oxlade-Chamberlain eyes first-team impact


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is happy to bide his time at Arsenal, but admits he is ready for his first-team opportunity if called upon during a busy Christmas period.

The 18-year-old midfielder has been primarily restricted to UEFA Champions League and Carling Cup action so far this term, but has shown some flashes of brilliance - a positive sign of things to come.

Oxlade-Chamberlain featured regularly for Arsene Wenger's side in their run to the Carling Cup quarter-finals, and also became the youngest English goalscorer in UEFA Champions League history when he netted in his competition debut against Olympiacos.

The former Southampton starlet was an unused substitute in last night's 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park, but with three more games to come in quick concession, Oxlade-Chamberlain is eyeing a role.

"I can't say [when I will play], I don't know, that's for the boss to say really," he told Arsenal Player. "I'm just available if ever needed.

"There are a lot of games and maybe it is a time where players are going to be rested. It's a lot of work for the body physically so if I am required then I'm ready. I'm looking forward to getting an opportunity and I will try and take my chance.

"Everyone that comes into the team knows what's expected of them. At the end of the day we all train together at the same tempo and the same intensity so I think whoever steps into the team knows what's expected of them from the fans, from the boss and from each other.

"You're playing for Arsenal, you have to be on top of your game at all times if possible."

It's just as well the strength in depth that Oxlade-Chamberlain speaks so highly of is present at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal look to maintain their recent momentum, whilst also managing something of a defensive injury crisis.

"I think it's a handicap for any team when you've got four full backs out - two left backs and two right backs," added the teenager. "It's not ideal for any team but there are a lot of boys that can fill in.

"You've seen Thomas Vermaelen and Ignasi Miquel both do really well. With Carl [Jenkinson] and Bac [Sagna] out on the right, Johan's [Djourou] filled in really well and obviously he's picked up a little niggle now.

"But the boys have the quality to do that, everybody understands everybody else's roles. If they don't play week in, week out they still understand - everybody at Arsenal is a quality player. I'm sure the boss will find somebody good enough to do the job."

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