The Arsenal and England international star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of the many Gunners hit by the injury curse last season. It was especially galling for the dynamic young player because he had already bagged an assist and was looking very good when he picked up the long term knee injury in the opening game.
Chamberlain looked good again after coming back but his bad luck struck again and he missed the end of the season, costing him a place in the FA cup final and the group games with England in the World Cup finals. So it has been really good to see the Ox playing regularly for the Gunners this season and he does seem to have improved.
The 21-year old has clearly added some things to his game and has impressed in a range of positions this season. But although Chamberlain’s 21 starts is the most he has managed since signing for Arsenal from Southampton, the young player has revealed in an Evening Standard report that he has still been playing through the pain barrier. He also feels that his performances would have been even better without these little niggling problems.
But he also believes that getting older and growing into his body has helped him and, with the extra attributes that he has added to game by training under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal since 2011, the Ox promises Arsenal fans that there is a lot more to come from him in the near future, although the north London derby with the spuds seems just a bit too soon.
Chamberlain said, “I think a lot of that is to do with the physicality, just growing up and becoming stronger definitely helps. It is not necessarily gym work, it is just games and generally maturing. I don’t think that until you get to around 24 or 25 that you are fully at your peak in terms of physicality, so I am not there yet.
“Since my long-term knee injury, I have had quite a lot of injuries this year, with a few niggles and groin problems, but I’ve played through all of it and even when I’ve been in discomfort for most of the games, I have been able to manage it. I feel that is holding me back at the moment.
“When I can get to grips with that and try to get over that, there’s a lot more to come from me in terms of my physicality, especially in my position. It is about running with the ball and trying to affect the game going forward.
“This year, for the first time in my Arsenal career, when I do get the ball I have the belief that I can run past anyone on my day and that really does help you. I only feel like that because of the way I have grown and how I’ve developed in terms of running with the ball.”
But the Ox admits that he needs to add more goals and assists to his game and he thinks that there are some key areas that he could work on to help with that. And he reckons that another former Southampton styar, Theo Walcott, is the ideal role model for those areas.
Chamberlain went on, “I think I’m better running with it than I am without. When I look at Theo [Walcott] and the runs he makes off the ball, I think I’ve got to improve a bit because Theo does it so well. That’s where my game has mostly developed. Defending, positioning and stuff like that you learn through experience.
“I think I have come on in that sense. There’s more to come from me, more improving that I can do and hopefully will do.
“I feel I’ve come on this season in terms of my general performances, contributions and impact on the games. In that sense I’ve been fairly happy but I know there is a lot more to come from me. It is all about end product — goals and assists — so I know I have got to improve there.”
Well I for one am looking forward to seeing our Ox get better and better, for Arsenal and England. Just how good could he become?