Arsene Wenger has stripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain youngster tag, and told him he must now show consistency for Arsenal.
The England international joined Arsenal just before his 17th birthday having enjoyed an eye-opening breakthrough season with Southampton in League One, which also earned him a place in the League One Team of the Year for 2011.
Oxlade has since been in and out of the Arsenal first-team, with competition as well as a number of short-term injuries hampering him from regular starts.
The Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has now told him that he must show he is the finished article at 23, and show he can remain consistent in his bid to earn an extended run in the starting line-up.
He said: “He is not a young player anymore, he is now 23 and at 23 you become a football player who is the finished article.
“Before 23, you learn your job. At 23, you become more consistent, you know what’s expected of you, you know how to deal with the pressure, with the situation, with the competition inside the squad. But he was so talented, so young.
“In the national team, so young. People forget that he was still a young player.”
His namesake Alex Iwobi is most likely to be at risk of rotation should the Ox get his desired increase in regular action, with Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez likely to be ahead of the young Nigerian in Wenger’s plans.
Iwobi could also be rested by the French boss as he looks to safeguard the 18 year-old, with Wenger known to worry about his younger players being exposed to too much limelight from an early age.
Can Alex finally make the step-up from a potential star and start earning his stripes as a regular starter?