Oxlade-Chamberlain can emulate Gerrard, says Wenger

The youngster is set to return to the Arsenal squad after five months out, and his boss feels his continued progression will see him take a role similar to the England captain

Arsene Wenger says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has the talent to emulate Steven Gerrard, insisting the Arsenal youngster has “the same qualities” as the England captain.

The 20-year-old has not featured for the Gunners since the opening-day defeat to Aston Villa after straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and Wenger has praised his mental strength in light of a serious injury setback.

“It was a blow to him but he has common sense and his feet on the ground,” Wenger told reporters.

“He took it alright. He worked hard and it was longer than expected but at least he escaped surgery, which is important at his age.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to return to the Arsenal squad for Monday’s trip to Villa Park after a 45-minute cameo for the Under-21 side during midweek.

Wenger is excited by the midfielder’s progression and has drawn comparison between Oxlade-Chamberlain’s potential and Liverpool stalwart Gerrard.

He added; “He has a good long ball, penetration from deep and a good quality to distribute and penetrate individually – certainly he has the same qualities as Steven Gerrard.

“At the moment, he is still in formation. It is good for his education as he plays left, right and central when needed. After 23 or 24 [years of age] you settle in a definite position.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain will now be also setting his sights on a potential England recall ahead of the World Cup, with the last of his 13 caps coming against Scotland last summer.

Wenger highlighted Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goalscoring display for the Three Lions in central midfield against Brazil last June, insisting: “His future will be [in that position].

“He has a good opportunity [to play at the World Cup],” Wenger added. “I think he will be in Hodgson’s plans as he can play central and wide. On that front England do not have too many players.”

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