By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger did not expect Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to become an England regular so early in his career.
The 19-year-old has now made seven appearances for Roy Hodgson’s side after winning a surprise call-up to the squad for Euro 2012.
Wenger admits his protégé’s rapid rise has taken him by surprise, but says it is beneficial to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-term development to play with England.
“I didn’t expect him to be in the national team at the moment. He is ahead of what I have planned,” Wenger said.
“Honestly, because I feel he needs to get tactical urgency, for him it is good [to play for England at such a young age].
“It could be bad if he was a bit big-headed, but he is very level-headed, very humble. So I think it’s good to experience the tactical level of the other players in England.
“When you come from youth-team football basically to that level, it’s like you go from primary school to university. And you have to learn quickly.
“It can be damaging if a guy thinks ‘Hey, look who I am’, but he is not like that. In his case it’s good.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain is seen to be in direct competition with Theo Walcott for a starting spot at club and international level, but Wenger does not see this as a problem in the long-term.
“They are a different style. I believe that Walcott is more of a striker-type and Oxlade-Chamberlain is a more midfielder-type,” he said.
“You could see Oxlade-Chamberlain developing into a central midfielder but you could never with Walcott. I see Walcott developing through the middle as a striker and Chamberlain maybe as a central midfielder.”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