I know that they are not exactly the same sort of player, but the Arsenal pair of Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain do have quite a bit in common and Arsene Wenger has played them both on the left and right flanks, even though the young Englishman is a midfielder while the Chile international is really a striker first and foremost.
And with the Ox still learning and improving his game, I think that there is no better role model he could have at Arsenal than Alexis. Chamberlain has talking to Arsenal Player about his Chilean team mate and about how blown away he has been by the 25-year old, especially about how a player with such talent still works harder on his game than anyone else.
The Ox said, “Alexis is a brilliant player and he does stuff that really does surprise you and you think, ‘how has he got out of that one?’. And, like against Southampton, he’ll step up and put a free-kick in the top corner.
“To be fair, I knew he was going to do that because in the warm-up he had four in a row in front of a lot of fans. When he stood up to take the free-kick in the game I said to Kieran, ‘this is going in, you should have seen him in the warm-up’, and he put it top corner.
“It’s moments of brilliance like that [which show his quality] but at the same time he works harder than I think I’ve seen anyone work. He is so skilful but he also does the defensive work up front and sets the tone.”
And that tracking back is one of the things that Ox will hopefully copy off Alexis. Both players’ games are based on pace, power, dribbling and directness, but the Chilean also has another facet that it would be useful to rub off on his young team mate which the Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was telling to Arsenal.com about the other day, that desire and determination to win that seems to be embedded in a lot of South American players that have had to drag themselves up from the streets.
Szczesny said, ““He’s got a massive passion for football. Obviously every single little game you have [in training] everyone wants to win, but there are always a couple of players who are so passionate that they hate to lose and Alexis is one of them.
“If he is losing a game he wants to take the ball, dribble past everyone and score – and he does that pretty well sometimes!
“On top of that he is a very good footballer and has been a very good signing as well. I am sure there is more come from him.”
So the Ox needs to just keep watching and learning from Alexis and he will not go far wrong…