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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: on the cusp of greatness or destined for failure?

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Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to have been around forever.

After making his senior debut at the tender age of 16 and following a 2011 transfer from one club renowned for producing English talent to a club famous for developing it, the 2015/16 season marks the 22-year-old's fifth full season as a professional footballer.

Nevertheless, Gunners fans would argue that 'the Ox' still finds himself struggling to break into an Arsenal team that, on the surface, looks incredibly penetrable.


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In the time since his move, a plethora of chances have been handed to the son of former England international Mark Chamberlain, yet five years down the line, he finds himself no closer to the starting XI than when he was 18-years-old.

It would be easy to blame this failure on a number of frustrating injuries, but this excuse only goes so far when one takes into account the revolving door policy at the Emirates.

In fact, it was injuries to his teammates that presented Oxlade-Chamberlain with his best chance of an extended run in the team this season, yet that opportunity was taken by Joel Campbell.

So what is stopping the youngster from fulfilling his potential? The answer might be found on Arsenal's official YouTube account.

A popular figure among supporters, the Englishman comes across as a cocky, likeable and confident member of the dressing room. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain's body language on the pitch doesn't reflect this at all.

Last weekend saw Arsene Wenger rotate his Arsenal side against Burnley, giving Oxlade-Chamberlain yet another chance to show what he can do. Starting on the right-hand side of a three-pronged attack, the youngster had a number of chances to etch his name on the scoresheet.

After each missed attempt, however, the usually bright and exhuberant starlet saw his confidence plummet. Sky Sports cameras caught his shoulders dropped, head tilted downwards and a few expletives come from his mouth.

In the end, an excellent counter-attack that largely featured the England international resulted in the winning goal, but a frustrating performance overshadowed what was a credible assist for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Can this problem be overcome? A lack of confidence as a result of lesser game time is far from an uncommon problem in professional sport, but the ball is ultimately in the Englishman's court.

He must begin to showcase the vast talent he is believed to possess in order to warrant more minutes on the pitch, otherwise he'll continue to struggle.

Oxlade-Chamberlain still has a huge future ahead of him, but his time to prove it lies at Arsenal is gradually running out.

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Thierry Henry
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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