Wenger: The Ox will be a Gerrard-type midfielder

Arsene Wenger is adamant Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best position is in central midfield, and believes he is in the mould of Liverpool and England star Steven Gerrard.

The Ox has been utilized heavily on the wings early on in his Arsenal career, however in the tail end of last season he was often seen playing in a deeper, central role.

The Arsenal boss believes the 20-year-old has all the attributes to be a strong central midfielder, but feels his versatility is only helping him to progress as a footballer as he is able to be fielded in a myriad of positions while he is unable to be played in central midfield.

Wenger told Arsenal’s official website:

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

He will be deeper as he has a good long ball, penetration from deep and a good quality to distribute and penetrate individually. Certainly he has the same qualities to Steven Gerrard.

He is a bit of a Ramsey type.

Arsenal have a huge amount of talent in central midfield, however for England The Ox can thrive in a more central position as he offers something unique to other midfielders in the Three Lions squad.

Wenger feels Oxlade-Chamberlain is on Roy Hodgson’s radar and he has proved his ability to play in a deeper role with his starring appearance for England in their 2-2 draw against Brazil last summer where he scored a screamer to help level the tie.

The Arsenal boss continued:

He has a good opportunity. I think he will be in Roy Hodgson’s plans as he can play centrally and out wide. On that front England do not have too many players.

He had a big impact when he came on in that game against Brazil, especially in central midfield – and deep central midfield. His future will be there.

To have a player of The Ox’s versatility is vital for the Gunners, however it may take him some years until he becomes a first team regular in central midfield. With the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla and Ozil all in the box-to-box/attacking midfield role, chances will be hard to come by. However when injury strikes, or even in Cup competitions, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be itching for a run in central midfield. For the time being though, he will wreak havoc on the wing.

On the international stage, England need a player of The Ox’s calibre to provide some much needed venom and speed into England’s aging midfield. Wilshere similarly shares that type of ability, and if the two Arsenal stars can develop a strong partnership this season it will bode well for the Three Lions World Cup campaign.

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