Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed against Bayern Munich why he could go onto become a star for club and country.
The 20-year-old was the standout player for Arsene Wenger’s team as they drew 1-1 with the Champions League holders in Germany.
Despite the draw, Arsenal exited Europe’s elite competition 3-1 on aggregate at the Last-16 stage for the fourth year in a row.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for Arsenal fans after a determined and gritty performance, typified none more so than Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The England man started the game in central midfield alongside Mikel Arteta, a position Wenger sees him occupying permanently in the future.
Up against Bastian Schweinsteiger and co, his pace and power petrified the Bayern defence and he was scythed down on a few occasion as the home side struggled to contain him.
One mazy run in the first half saw him shrug off three Bayern players before eventually being bundled over by Thiago Alcanta on the edge of the box.
It was just one of six successful dribbles he completed in the first half alone and was the outstanding contribution from any Arsenal player on the night.
His first touch and composure under extreme pressure was impeccable in the daunting Allianz Arena.
Upped his game
This is not the first time Oxlade-Chamberlain has impressed in the central role as AC Milan and Crystal Palace can testify.
The Milan performance was the first time he showcased his talents and made experienced midfielders like Mark van Bommel look pedestrian.
Pace, power, athleticism and boundless energy overawed the Italian midfield that night and it was his driving run that won his side a penalty in the 3-0 win.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has a touch of Wayne Rooney about him when he first burst onto the scene in that he is fearless and always looks to attack defenders.
The cruciate injury he suffered on the opening day of the season is now a distant memory as he begins to really fulfil his enormous potential.
Many wondered whether Oxlade-Chamberlain was worth the £15m investment in 2011 and those doubters would now unanimously agree he was worth every penny.
Oxlade-Chamberlain along with Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott make up a very exciting British core of players at the club.
This season he has taken over the mantle from Jack Wilshere, who took the reins off Aaron Ramsey and fans will be intrigued to see them all line up together in the near future.
‘The Ox’ has all the attributes to become a world class player and it will be fascinating to watch his rise to the top.
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