Wenger: Youngsters in Euro frame

BY foxsports • October 14, 2011

Arsenal's £12m summer signing from Southampton continued his rich vein of scoring form with a hat-trick for England Under-21s against Iceland in Reykjavik last week which underlined his emergence as one of England's top prospects. He has also wasted no time justifying Arsene Wenger's faith in him by scoring in his last two club appearances. Now Wenger, who advised former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson to take Theo Walcott to the World Cup in 2006 as a 17-year-old, believes Oxlade-Chamberlain could be a surprise package for England when they head to Poland and Ukraine. Wenger said: "I don't rule him out. It depends on his progress here. "You cannot rule him out because he has the basic talent. In the next five, six months we will see how he adjusts to the physical intensity of the game." Wenger admits Oxlade-Chamberlain has surprised him with the speed with which he has settled in at the Emirates stadium Asked if he had exceeded his expectations, Wenger said: "Yes, I did not expect him to be so comfortable as quickly as that so he has done extremely well. He still needs some more time to adapt to the intensity of some of the games. He has the quality already for top-level Premier League games." Wenger refuses to compare him with Walcott, who did not feature in any of England's games in Germany in 2006 and then was left out of the squad four years later at the World Cup in South Africa. Wenger said: "Theo Walcott went at 17 years of age to the World Cup and Chamberlain is already 18 now. They are at different stages. "I believe that Chamberlain is more in the build-up of a game and Walcott is more striker-minded. They are different types of players, both gifted. "Slowly England gets players out of the youth system that have the quality to play on the international level, at a very interesting level." Wenger's immediate thoughts, however, were on taking three points against Sunderland at the Emirates stadium on Sunday. Arsenal have taken just seven points from seven matches so far this season and lie just one point ahead of their opponents in the Premier League table. The Arsenal boss is expected to ask Carl Jenkinson to play at right-back in the absence of Bacary Sagna, who will be sidelined for three months with a broken leg. And Wenger, whose team lost to Tottenham in their last league match and now lie 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester United, is confident his players can climb the table quickly. He said: "I am convinced we have good potential, we have rebuilt the team and of course we were a bit disturbed at the start of the season for different reasons. But we just want to focus on the short term at the moment, we are not in a position to make long-term plans. "You can never say that the confidence is at the top when you lose a big game, but we still believe in the way we play and want to behave. "We had a good series of results just before we lost to Tottenham and from that game I think there were many positives. We have to respond quickly now because there is a big gap between us and the top teams and we want to reduce that as quickly as possible. "I believe that this team will surprise many once we get on a series of results because the behaviour is fantastic." Wenger also refused to rule out Nicklas Bendtner, currently on loan with Sunderland and ineligible to play against the Gunners, from playing for Arsenal again. "In our job, you never say never," said Wenger. "You do always what is right for your club. If it is right for the club to get Nicklas Bendtner back, the club will do it. I like him as a player. "It will not only depend on us, it will depend on him. But we are not there yet - there is a long way to go."


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