By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has warned Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's admirers not to expect too much too soon from the teenager.
The summer signing from Southampton has made a fine start to his Arsenal career, scoring on his first two starts against Shrewsbury Town and Olympiacos before delivering another precocious performance in the Carling Cup defeat to Manchester City.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's pace, direct running and eye for goal have been evident at England Under-21 level too, so much so that he has been tipped as a possible inclusion in Fabio Capello's squad for Euro 2012.
Wenger believes the 18-year-old has huge potential but he does not want him weighed down by expectation.
"I would like to see [him go to Euro 2012] but let's go step by step," said the Frenchman. "I think in England you always take the fast track. To go to the European Championships you need experience in the Premier League so it is important he gets that first.
"He is not far [from being ready for the Premier League]. At the moment we have been quite consistent with the team we put out because we are on a good run and have had no injuries.
"I believe he is still in a period where training every day with top players is important for him to improve. He has quality when he plays in games - he is not fazed by the importance of them. He's the kind of personality that makes you think he can play on the big stage.
"You have seen him already before Christmas and I have no restrictions at all. For me, if I need him he will play. I don't think it is too early for him to play anymore."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source