Arsenal utility star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has admitted “it’s better to tie yourself down to one position and really become established in one area”.
The 22-year-old England man has been a substitute in the last two games with Joel Campbell and Theo Walcott given the nod out wide. He missed almost the whole of November with a hamstring problem and only returned as a sub against Norwich before starting the recent 3-1 win over Sunderland.
The former Southampton winger, who was blasted by Roberto Martinez for injuring Phil Jagielka in October, has more often than not been used in a wide role by Arsene Wenger, although he has been given opportunities for club and country in a central role.
And he has admitted he prefers to play inside, where he enjoyed large spells of his youth career.
“I’m quite lucky because I enjoy playing on the wing and in midfield as well,” he told the Arsenal weekly podcast. “I’ve become more used to playing on the wing because I’ve played there more than I have in the middle. Growing up, I played more centrally which is why whenever I do get asked to play there, I’m more than happy to do that.
“There are times in the game as well when, because of the way the team plays, I might be on the wing but for a 10-minute period I might end up playing in midfield and I feel at home doing that.
“Sometimes it’s nicer to play in midfield because you get more of the ball whereas when you’re out wide you rely on people to get you the ball, but then when you are on the wing you have then license to attack a bit more and run at people which is a strong part of my game. I’m happy to play in both positions.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has made 19 appearances for the Gunners in all competition this term, has accepted that versatility is also a positive attribute in the modern game.
“Versatility is an extra string to a player’s bow,” he added. “In the long run it’s probably better to tie yourself down to one position and really become established in one area to be as good as you can in that position.
“However, you look at the likes of Philipp Lahm who is one of the best right backs in the world, but he can also go into midfield and play as if he’s one of the best midfielders in the world.
“Throughout your career you will always be asked to play slightly different positions here and there, and obviously the needs of the team comes first so if you need to fill in at a different position, you’ll be expected to do that. It’s important for any player to be versatile enough to be able to play in different positions.”