Leading up to the 6-0 drubbing of Bulgarian side Ludogorets in The Champions League on Wednesday night, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger offered words of encouragement to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The 23-year-old England winger made a rare start at The Emirates on Wednesday and duly scored in the rout of the ragged Bulgarians.
And while there is no doubting the player’s ability his levels of consistency are often brought into question.
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The player himself suggested earlier this season that he may have to assess his options at the end of this campaign.
But there Arsenal manager has moved to assure the player that his place is in North London if he can keep his performance levels up.
Wenger is quoted as saying in The London Evening Standard.
“He didn’t say that. He said he will consider the situation at the end of the season. That is completely different.
“I can understand, but on the other hand, you buy a young player at 17 years of age, you spend a lot of money, then you would like him to stay at the club.
“I think his place is here. We like him. I personally rate him as a player and I hope that he will show that he can have a stable position in the team until the end of the season.
“This season he has been similar to Walcott. He has not got rewarded yet. But he is in a similar position because he has worked really hard.”
It’s hard to believe that the youngster has been at the club for 6 years and he has seldom been a regular in that time. When his form has been good enough to get a run in the team, injuries have regularly stymied his progress.
He’s played 159 times for Arsenal since his big money transfer in 2011. That averages about 26 appearances per season but most of these have been off the bench.
But he has found form this season with 10 appearances and 3 goals. With a long run in Europe likely on this form for The Gunners, the England winger should expect more starts.
TFF thinks he can be a top player. Arsenal fans: a potential first team regular this season alongside Ozil, Sanchez and Walcott?