Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says comparisons with Steven Gerrard are a “massive compliment”.
The 20-year-old has spent much of his Arsenal career on the flanks since he joined from Southampton in the summer of 2011.
However, Arsène Wenger recently said he expects Oxlade-Chamberlain to end up as a deep-lying midfielder as he shares characteristics with the England captain.
I would be slightly different to the way he plays [that role], but if someone says you are going to be nearly as good as Stevie, you are going to take itAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain
“I was about surprised by that because Stevie has been one of my idols and someone I have always looked up to ever since I watched football,” Oxlade-Chamberlain 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 one day maybe 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 [that role], 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 is still learning about playing in midfield, but he's determined to keep some of the assets which define him.
“When you’re on the wing, mostly what you do is sprint, recover, sprint, recover,” he said. “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.”Copyright 2015 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