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 2013 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 14 Sep 2012