By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger says it is vital to manage a young player’s workload when they start featuring for the first team.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the latest Arsenal youngster to make the breakthrough but his manager is keeping a close eye on the 18-year-old to ensure there is no risk of burn-out.

“When a player is top quality like Jack [Wilshere] was last year, it is difficult to convince him first [that he should rest],” said Wenger.

“You can convince him he does not play when he is not good enough. But if he is not injured and is one of the better players in the team, it is hard to explain to everybody that you don’t play him because he might maybe have a future stress fracture.

“So you play them and try to be reasonable with them.

“People forget that to start him [Oxlade-Chamberlain] against Manchester United, a player with no experience, it takes guts to do it at the start.

“He came on at Manchester United when we lost 8-2 and nobody spoke about it. But to start him in a game of that magnitude [last Sunday] and then for him to have done well is very positive for us.”

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28 Jan 2012