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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Rice sure Ox' will work well in Arsenal attack

ARSENAL assistant manager Pat Rice feels Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has the intelligence to become a big player for both club and country after impressing on his Champions League debut in last night's 2-1 win over Olympiacos at Emirates Stadium.

The 18-year-old produced another impressive display following a £10million summer move from Southampton when firing the hosts in front after just eight minutes.

Brazil defender Andre Santos' first goal for his new club put Arsenal well in command, only for David Fuster to power in an unmarked header before the break.

While the Gunners -- who had manager Arsene Wenger serving the final match of his European touchline ban and started with captain Robin van Persie on the bench -- were nervy at times, as Olympiacos captain Vassilis Torosidis crashed a curling 25-yard effort against the crossbar, it was the live-wire performance of Oxlade- Chamberlain which caught the eye.

Rice believes the youngster -- who scored his first Arsenal goal in the Carling Cup win over Shrewsbury -- can, over the coming seasons, follow in the footsteps of Theo Walcott, who was sidelined last night by a minor knee injury.

"Alex can go inside, he can go outside, he's got that injection of pace and what he needs now is to be consistent in his play," said Rice, who again took charge of the dugout with Wenger forced to watch from the directors' box.



Stupid

"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."

Oxlade-Chamberlain was playing for Southampton in League One last season and enjoyed his first taste of top-flight European action. He said: "It's a big step up, but I want to play at the top level and I have plenty more time to play in the Champions League."

Rice admitted Arsenal had been somewhat sloppy in the way they allowed Olympiacos back into the match.

In the end, though, Arsenal did just enough to secure their second victory of the week and restored some much needed confidence ahead of what is sure to be a testing trip to arch rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

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