Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is undoubtedly one of the biggest young talents in world football. It’s clear to see from his displays that he can become one of the greats. Not only does he have the talent, he also has the attitude. Motivated by hunger and determination with a down-to-earth persona he is a very likable figure – somewhat uncommon in modern football.
The young midfielder has delighted Arsenal fans since his summer switch from newly-promoted Southampton, where he also delighted the faithful there. In his performances, there has been displays of great exuberance and technique. He has ability to run at players with pace and control, he is enthusiastic and is not afraid to try new things. He plays like a seasoned professional.
However, despite the obvious signs of talent and readiness for the top flight, there is still a need for caution. The season before last, English football fans were treated to the emergence of Jack Wilshere. At 18, the same age as Chamberlain, the creative midfielder played a pivotal part in Arsenal’s charge to the Carling Cup Final and battle for 4th. But since then things haven’t progressed. During pre-season, Wilshere displayed the ability that saw him named 2010-2011 PFA Young Player of the Year. But also during pre-season he suffered an injury and hasn’t played since, with overplaying being named the main cause of the injury.
Of course, every case is different. The Ox is seemingly a lot bigger and sturdier than Wilshere, but there is no point in taking risks, especially at Arsenal given the current state fans believe the club to be in. Arsène Wenger appears to have learnt from his mistakes which is a good thing.
There is a risk Oxlade-Chamberlain could head the same way as Theo Walcott as well. He too was branded the next big thing, fans were expecting too much when he signed and he hasn’t exactly gone on to reach his initial potential. While Walcott is a very good player still he is by no means a world beater.
These problems may or may not influence Chamberlain, there is no way of knowing that, but it would be better in the long run if he wasn’t so over-hyped as it can easily hamper the progression of young players who are unable to handle the pressure..
In Chamberlain Arsenal have a mercurial talent. A natural showman who’s capable of creating something out of absolute nothing. He is the sort of player who excites the crowds. Performances against the likes of mighty AC Milan and Manchester United have all led to his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the European Championships. After impressing in his first competitive international appearance, he was dropped to the bench for the following game vs Sweden, and he might have scored after coming on as a substitute, had Gerrard left Theo Walcott’s cross alone.
There is still time before Chamberlain can be seen as a savior or a player who’ll instantly change a game. The initial signs are fantastic for Arsenal and England, he is a player capable of occasional greatness with undoubted talent and potential but for now Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs time.