Arsenal mustn’t make the same mistakes with The Ox after Walcott’s experiences

After his outstanding performance against Manchester City in the League Cup, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was once again given the man of the match award unofficially by Arsenal fans. He did have a great game against Manchester City against the more senior fullback Pablo Zabaleta, but it is important to remember that the lad is only 18 years of age.

Being an English player, it was always likely that he would be under the spotlight especially after the promise he showed at Southampton a season earlier. To make things even better for the Ox, he became the youngest English goalscorer in the Champions League with his goal for the Gunners against Olympiacos earlier in the season.

While all is good at present and he gives good performances even against tough opposition, it is important not to overhype the Ox, as we did with Theo Walcott. Arsene Wenger made a rather poor decision, however, to say that the Ox could be ready for Euro 2012. We don’t want a repeat of the Theo Walcott fiasco in 2006 when he was picked (and then not used) in the World Cup.

Most importantly, the sky-high expectations will only make playing football a stressful and difficult job for Oxlade-Chamberlain. His development may be stunted from the pressure on him to play to the level of his senior counterparts and eventually, his moves will be scrutinised, and his mistakes harshly criticised by the media.

I believe that Alex has a bright future at Arsenal after such a fantastic start to his career in the Premier League, but now is the time to let him enjoy his football and develop without pressure. We can watch his impressive performances over and over again but take them with a pinch of salt. Do not expect too much from the lad from such a young age and above all, do not hype the lad up while he is still learning!