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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain To Battle Theo Walcott For Arsenal And England Place

Emirates starlet set for a bright future.

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Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been challenged to produce the goods on a consistent basis by assistant manager Pat Rice.

The 18-year-old has been tipped for stardom with the Gunners and with England following his goal on his Champions League debut last night against Olympiakos.

The England U21 international was playing League One football for Southampton last season but has taken the big leap up in his stride.

Rice believes the youngster can follow in the footsteps of winger Theo Walcott to play a big role for both club and country in the years ahead.

“From Arsenal supporters’ point of view, they are going to be seeing a lot of this boy,” Rice said. “He has a big, big challenge to now get in front of Theo.

“I know that Theo is a very strong-willed guy as well and he won’t give in easy. It all bodes well for England anyway.

“Alex can go inside, he can go outside, he’s got that injection of pace and I think what he needs now is to be consistent in his play.

“I am sure that is something he will be working on because he’s certainly not a stupid boy.

“He has good people around him and they are telling him all the right things.

“Alex is very friendly with Theo and no doubt he will give him the benefit of his experience as well.”

One issue is whether the two speedsters could play in the same team together but Rice insists it remains a point of contention.

“What you have to do is see whether the two of them can compliment each other – that is something I don’t know,” Rice added.

“The manager does not know and the England manager does not know either because we have not seen them together.

“You can think as much as you like, but until it actually happens you are only formulating an opinion of your own. All good players can play together.”

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