Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still hasn't exploited all his potential, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

James Benge

Arsene Wenger is convinced that there is still more to come from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Arsenal.

The 23-year-old has been one of the few bright sparks in Arsenal’s disastrous recent run, excelling in the central midfield role that Wenger had long believed was where he would naturally gravitate towards.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed just 28 minutes of action in Arsenal’s last five league games, a far cry from his usual struggles for regular game time, and Wenger believes the youngster’s recent improvements are only the start of his journey to the top.

“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was in action for England last week, and lately he has done well,” Wenger wrote in his programme notes ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City at the Emirates. “He’s been more stable, more focused in his performances, I still believe it’s a very encouraging period for Alex, but there is more to come from him.

“The work we do with him now is to get more and more from him, because there is still potential in him that hasn’t been completely exploited yet. That’s normal because he is still an under-25 player.

Wenger added: “Whether he plays centrally or wide, what he gives to the team is being strong in the challenge, he has good acceleration and in central midfield this kind of potential to go forward gets you away from pressure.

“He can create the difference and serve the strikers, as well as go past people. In the modern game where there is a lot of pressure on players with the ball, guys who can dribble and can go past people have a huge advantage.”

Whether Oxlade-Chamberlain will continue to make that impact for Arsenal remains to be seen as it is believed the club have not yet opened contract negotiations with the England international’s representatives ahead of his deal expiring in the summer of 2018.

Manchester City and Liverpool have both been linked with Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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