Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain feels it is good to be back in the first team fold again after five months out after suffering a nasty knee injury at the beginning of the season.
The versatile midfielder enjoyed a 45 minute run out for Arsenal’s Under-21 side on Thursday in a bid to get some competitive action, and although he is not yet match fit he’s taken a step closer after a long spell on the sidelines.
Arsenal travel to Aston Villa on Monday night and The Ox is expected to be called up to the squad. While the 20-year-old is anticipating his return to Wenger’s side, he feels his time on the sidelines has had a positive impact personally.
Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal Player:
It was the first match I’ve played in five months so it was more about getting the minutes under my belt and getting used to being back on a football pitch.
On the ball I know I can do a lot better than that but it takes a few weeks, maybe even a month, to get back to your full sharpness. Obviously I wasn’t at my full fitness here and it was quite hard, but the main thing was that I got through it and that is a positive. It is just really good to be back.
It’s never easy having an injury, especially when it’s your first long-term one because you are not used to it and not sure how it will pan out. When I look back on it’s been a good learning curve, but at the same time it is somewhere you don’t want to be.
I am just thankful that I got through it and I’ll look to push on from here.
The Ox be a valuable asset for the Gunners, his pace and trickery will be welcomed on the wing with the recent loss of Walcott. He will not be rushed back into action however after such a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and after just a half-match for the U21 side, he will most likely make an appearance from the bench against Villa.
Roy Hodgson will be watching the Englishman’s progress eagerly ahead of this summers World Cup in Brazil, providing another reason for The Ox to have a profound impact during the remainder of the campaign, not to mention helping to guide Arsenal to their first piece of silverware since 2005.
It’s very good to hear Oxlade-Chamberlain is back.