By Joe Brewin

Arsène Wenger admits Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must be handled with care.

The youngster has made a bright start to his Arsenal career since joining from Southampton last summer, featuring regularly in Wenger’s first team since the turn of the New Year.

Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed in a central midfield role against AC Milan on Tuesday but Wenger is advocating caution over the 18-year-old’s progress.

“His feet are on the ground but we have to manage him in a responsible way as well,” said the Frenchman. “The problem when you have a talented player like that is that everybody wants him to play every single game. If you do that then he will be injured.

“I don't think he is ready yet to play in a [central midfield] position in a consistent way. I am a great admirer but it is difficult to slow the enthusiasm down on the expectation level.

“Honestly, he is 18 years old. Look anywhere in Europe and there are some talented 18-year-olds who play in the Champions League. He is already ahead because we give him a chance.”

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10 Mar 2012