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'Ox has added belief to his finishing'

Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the England international scored twice in the 2-0 win against Reading on Tuesday night.

The Ox now has five goals to his name this season, his most prolific yet, and the boss had this to say about him:

on whether Oxlade-Chamberlain’s confidence is coming back…Sometimes you felt like he didn’t deserve to score when he was in front of goal before. Now, I think he has added some belief to his finishing. Now we have hope that whenever he has the ball, something can happen. He’s powerful but he also finishes well and he’s added that to his game. That’s certainly linked with confidence, hard work in training, and he looks to be following Theo Walcott in that way.

on competition between Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain lifting both…They are lifting each other but they can also play on both flanks.

on how far away Oxlade-Chamberlain is from starting regularly…He’s not a long way away from the starting XI because he played against Ludogorets, he played here which was expected, but Ludogorets was a very important game. He came on against Middlesbrough on Saturday and I feel that he is regularly involved.

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on what has changed for him…He is not a young player anymore, he is now 23 and at 23 you become a football player who is the finished article. Before 23, you learn your job. At 23, you become more consistent, you know what’s expected of you, you know how to deal with the pressure, with the situation, with the competition inside the squad. But he was so talented, so young. In the national team, so young. People forget that he was still a young player.

on whether there was a moment when he changed…As a person? I think the quality of his concentration, of his focus, is sharper. He is more determined and he has worked a lot mentally you know, to be really focused and I think it comes out every day in training and now it is starting to come out in the games.

 

More polls to come later this season!