Date:Monday February 6 2012
The emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been one of the bright points of an otherwise disappointing season to date.
The last few weeks has been a delight to watch this young man showing such deft touches, blistering pace and wisdom beyond his years, but we have to be careful.
It wasn`t long ago that Tim Stillman wrote an article discussing the need to be watchful of The Ox, careful not to build him up only to knock him down a few months later (rather surprisingly Alan Shearer offered the same sentiment on MOTD on Saturday night), the need to protect his psychology early in his career is extremely important.
There is, of course, another reason to make sure Alex is ever so slightly wrapped in cotton wool and used as a starter maybe not as often as we`d like, and to highlight this reason we need not look any further than Jack Wilshere.
When Jack came to the forefront at Arsenal there was massive excitement, and rightly so, in Jack Wilshere we have one of the brightest prospects in English football, and we all wanted to see him playing every week. In an age where loyalty in football has almost ceased to exist, Jack`s passion for Arsenal and his astronomic work-ethic on the pitch made him an instant hit.
Wilshere played a hell of a lot of football in his early days, and he`s paying for it now with almost a full season out of action, and whilst resting him for 10 or 12 games last season might have felt like a big loss at the time, it`s nothing compared to the 50 or so games he`s going to miss this season.
So while we want our best players on the pitch all the time, we have to be prepared for Mr Wenger to give Alex a break from time to time. The need to find a balance between form and rest is huge. It might be hard to comprehend the boss "dropping" him even when he`s in full swing, but it`s better we miss him for a couple of games than a whole season.
Date:Monday February 6 2012
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