Arsenal talent aims to emulate Gerrard, can he outshine kop King on Feb 8?

Moving from out wide to a central role requires a change in running style, but young Gunner vows to grow into the role long excelled by Liverpool legend.

Arsenal attacker Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20, harbours ambitions of replicating the form and achievements of Liverpool superstar Steven Gerrard and has revealed how he aims to do so - by slightly altering the way he trains, plays but, mostly, runs.

Earlier in the month, Gunners chief Arsene Wenger made the surprise declaration that he sees Oxlade-Chamberlain's future not as a winger, where he has most frequently been utilised in season's past, but as a deeper-lying midfielder.

The notion 'surprised' Oxlade-Chamberlain, who lists Gerrard as one of his idols. He told Arsenal Player: 'To be in the England squad and have him as my captain, I get to see how professional he is and how good he is. He is a bit older now, but he is still doing the things I remember him doing when I was young. To be able to do that so consistently, for so many years at such a high level, is credit to how good a player he really is.

'If the boss thinks I can form my game around him, [it] is a massive compliment. He is someone I would love to emulate. I would be slightly different to the way he plays, but if someone says you are going to be nearly as good as Stevie, you are going to take it. It is a nice compliment.'

Oxlade-Chamberlain has already been utilised as one of the '2' in Wenger's 4-2-3-1 formation and discussed the nuances in the positional switch: 'When you’re on the wing, mostly what you do is sprint, recover, sprint, recover. When you are in central midfield it is more about getting up and down consistently at a lower pace - but being able to do that all through the game.

'When you are in midfield, a lot of it is about tracking runners and being in the right position to help out your back four and shield balls going through the lines and into the opposition striker.

'If I am in midfield I will still be the player who drives forward with the ball or makes a run. For me, that will always be a part of my game. In midfield you just need to be more careful when you do that, and [know when] to sit and help out the team. Jack [Wilshere] does that really well.'

Considering Arsenal's current injury list, with Jack Wilshere (February 8 return) and Aaron Ramsey (six to eight weeks) out of action, together with the suspension of Mathieu Flamini, there is now the increased likelihood that Wenger will field 'The Ox' centrally, with Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Serge Gnabry retaining their roles in the '3', behind the '1'; Olivier Giroud.

Arsenal host Crystal Palace on Sunday, February 2, prior to a trip to Anfield the following Saturday - with all the talk regarding Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gerrard, all eyes will be on the English duo to see who can out-perform the other.

image: © ruairadhG

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