Oxlade-Chamberlain relishing dual role for club and country
London, Oct 10 (IANS) England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is enjoying playing in a central midfield role for the national football team despite being a winger for his club side Arsenal.
“Given the opportunity, I do enjoy playing in central midfield and last week in training with England I was playing more centrally. I really enjoyed that,” he was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard on Monday,
“There have been players over time who have been asked to play in a position and maybe they don’t want to play there but, with me, I’m honestly happy to do it. If I get told to play on the wing, there is nothing in me that is annoyed I’m not playing midfield. I know I have got qualities that suit the wing and I’m happy to express myself there,” he added.
The 23-year-old pointed out that the presence of several quality midfielders in the Arsenal squad means that manager Arsene Wenger has no option but to employ him on the wings.
“At the moment, the general dynamic at Arsenal is that we have got a lot of central midfielders who are more specialists in that position and out of that group of players, if you were going to put me in there, I’d be the one who stood out as someone who could play on the wing.
“I see myself more as a winger for Arsenal as a result. Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, who has just come in, Jack Wilshere, when he’s back, Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey, when he’s fit,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said.
“They are all big players for us and out-and-out central midfielders, so I am more focused on playing wide and adding what I can out there for now.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has scored five goals in 24 matches for England, insisted that playing in multiple positions has helped him grow as a player.
“Because I’ve been playing on the wing, I’ve focused more on my runs off the ball in behind. That’s because I’m more naturally like a midfielder so I come towards the ball to receive it. That’s something I’ve had to work on to become more of a winger,” the former Southampton player said.
“If I play in midfield, I’m still going to get the ball, look to go past people and drive forward with it. I don’t think it stunts my development because there is no negative feeling on my behalf.”