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Wenger: Oxlade-Chamberlain deserves Euro spot

Arsene Wenger is adamant that Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recent form should see him make England’s Euro 2012 squad.

The former Southampton forward has made a big impression since moving to the Emirates Stadium, already netting in both the Premier League and Champions League in his 15 appearances to date.

“If he continues to play like this I am convinced he will go to Euro 2012,” Wenger told reporters.

Having seen the adverse effect that a major tournament can have on a young player through Theo Walcott, the Frenchman Wenger said he is not worried about his 15-million-pound man, hailing the 18-year-old’s temperament in dealing with the pressure.

“To put him in the team against any opposition, it is just natural for him to be there,” Wenger said.

“For a young player, sometimes they waste a lot of time getting used to the pressure. He looks like he can take it.”

“There are very few players like that, players who look like they have always played in the team.”

Despite being keen for Oxlade-Chamberlain to make the England squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, Wenger is also wary of the effects that playing too many games can have at a young age.

He added: “Physically we have to monitor him because, after every game, he can have a little problem.”

“We know now that a large percentage of players who play a lot of games between the ages of 18 and 21 have bony stress responses. I never expected the number to be so high.”

“(It happens) because your skeleton is not completely finished and the bones are not completely developed to absorb the kinds of shocks you get in the Premier League.”

“We have to be cautious about that. But you are always in a trap when the player is as good as he is, like Jack Wilshere is too.”

“You cannot take him out of the team; you have to keep him there. They can win you games.”

Wed 29 February, 2012
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