Ox would relish midfield role

  • Last Updated: January 25 2014, 22:40 GMT

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would relish the chance to develop his game at the heartbeat of the Arsenal midfield.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Would like to play centrally
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Would like to play centrally

The 20-year-old has just returned from a serious knee injury and hopes an extended run in the side over the final half of the season could lead to winning a place in England's World Cup squad.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was deployed to great effect alongside Jack Wilshere in a central role for the 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Coventry on Friday, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is keen to see more of him there in the seasons ahead.

"In the future if I do play in midfield that's an attribute that I won't want to lose, I will want to run with the ball and drive forward, attract defenders and draw then out of position," he said.

"I don't know whether I will end up there, that's for Arsene Wenger to decide, but it's definitely something I'm excited about the prospect of doing.

"I've always been a midfielder and have only recently gone out to the wing, but wherever I play on the pitch I've just got to make sure I give the best performance I can."

Arsenal will certainly have to do that if they are to stay ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea when their Barclays Premier League campaign resumes at Southampton, Oxlade-Chamberlain's former club, on Tuesday night.

"It's very cliche but it's one game at a time. If you look into the future too much you lose sight go the next game and now that's Southampton on Tuesday and that will be a tough one," the midfielder said.

"All you can do is look to the next game and make sure you get the right results and make sure you keep plodding along like that step by step. Hopefully come the end of the season we finish where we want to finish."

Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Arsenal in the summer of 2011 and feels the squad has grown into one capable of sustaining their ambitions.

"The main group and the spine of the team has been together for two or three years so it's starting to form that togetherness and knowing each other better on and off the pitch and that helps our style of play," he said.

"We've learnt that everyone has been in around it for a few years now and we know what the boss expects and how he wants us to go about it.

"We know what to expect with each other and I think you can see that now when we do play. Even when we're not playing well we know how to grind out results and that's a big thing."

Another Arsenal youngster tipped to make a major impact in the coming seasons is Gedion Zelalem, who turns 17 on Sunday.

The German-Ethiopian midfielder spent some time in Hertha Berlin's youth system before moving to the United States, from where he was scouted by the Gunners.

Zelalem has been likened to Cesc Fabregas, who made his first-team debut as a raw teenager before going on to eventually captain the club.

Oxlade-Chamberlain feels his young team-mate has a big future under Wenger's watchful eye and said: "Gedion has got all the passing attributes and the same sort of qualities that Cesc has. It's a very good compliment because Cesc is such a good player.

"He has got a lot of growing to do because he's still a young lad and we'll see how he develops - but at a club like Arsenal I'm sure he can develop in the right way, especially under a boss like Arsene Wenger.

"In the squad that we've got here there's always a lot of time for youngsters and they're allowed to make mistakes and learn from them - and the boys are there to help him along that journey, so I'm sure he's going to do really well."


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