Arsenal’s new star keen for more first-team chances after debut goal
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hungry for minutes at the Emirates
Arsene Wenger had said in the build-up to Tuesday’s Carling Cup tie that fans should be ‘very excited’ to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and for once in this tempestuous month the Arsenal manager was proved right.
The teenager’s performance, a goalscoring one on his first start for the club, against Shrewsbury Town suggested that Wenger’s �12m purchase of the 18-year-old last month could indeed be money well spent.
His 58th-minute strike that put Arsenal 2-1 in front, a thumping low drive that beat the League Two side’s keeper Ben Smith for sheer pace, nicely encapsulated what stands out most about Oxlade-Chamberlain – physically he looks a lot older than 18. He looks ready for the first team.
“Oxlade-Chamberlain grew through the game and became stronger and stronger,” admitted Wenger afterwards.
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“In the first half he was a bit timid and suddenly he grew in stature in the second half. It was unbelievable. What came out, you didn’t expect it after the first half.
“You could see that he will be a first-team player here, that is for sure. He still has things to work on but, very quickly, he will be knocking on the door.”
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The player himself was understandably delighted with a goal on his full debut, and even suggested that he had been frustrated with his lack of game time since arriving in August.
“I received the ball, it opened up for me and I thought I would try my luck. Luckily enough it went in and I’m delighted,” said the teenager.
“I haven’t been on the bench as much as I would have liked recently and that is due to some quality signings. I forgot what it felt like to be out there.
“Before the game I walked out on the pitch and realised what a big stage it is. Straight away I was excited about the game and it was brilliant to be involved. I gave it my all and I hope I did well.”