Graeme Souness believes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could become a star for both Arsenal and England, and wants to see Arsene Wenger use him more in the starting XI going forward.
The midfielder has made 90 appearances for the Gunners since a £12 million move from Southampton in August 2011, but was restricted to just 14 league games last season due to knee and groin injuries.
Earning four starts in 11 outings so far this term, he went the full 90 minutes in the weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur, in which his 74th-minute equaliser spared the club’s blushes against their north London rivals.
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Souness was hugely impressed with that performance, and now wants to see the 21-year-old feature in the lineup on a more regular basis.
‘I really want to see more of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Arsenal,’ he wrote on his Sky Sports column.
‘Arsene Wenger has a lot of very similar midfielders at the moment, but he is the one player in that area who is quite different to the rest of them. I would like to see him utilised more because he could be a star both for Arsenal and England.
‘I really like Oxlade-Chamberlain. He’s explosive, he’s quick and I would love to see him played regularly as one of the two central midfield players.’
Souness believes the versatile England international possesses all the right attributes to develop into an excellent holding midfielder in the future but, for now, thinks his explosiveness is better served in a more attacking role.
‘Long term I think he could develop into more of a holding player, but at the moment he is so dynamic and so explosive that you’d be cutting his legs off to simply ask him to be a support player,’ he added.
‘Ultimately he could play there because he has the strength, the technique and the ability to deliver on the picture that he sees in front of him. That’s too early for him now because he’s so energetic and he can do the box-to-box stuff, so I want to see him more involved by being more in the way.
‘I really want to see him in a central role, using his strength, pace and power, rather than being used in the wider areas.’