Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain delighted with Arsenal involvement

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The Independent Football

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted he had forgotten what it was like to be in the thick of the action, but hopes there is more to come after helping fire Arsenal into the last 16 of the Carling Cup.

The 18-year-old £10million winger marked his first start since moving from Southampton with a fine display and well-taken goal in the 3-1 third-round win over Shrewsbury which helped eased some of the gloom at Emirates Stadium following a testing start to the new campaign.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger felt Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose debut came as a second-half substitute in the 8-2 Barclays Premier League mauling at Manchester United, showed why he will soon be "knocking on the door" of the first team on a regular basis.

Oxlade-Chamberlain intends for that to be sooner rather than later.

He told Arsenal Player: "I haven't been on the bench as much as I would have liked recently and that is due to some quality signings. I forgot what it felt like to be out there.

"Before the game I walked out on the pitch and realised what a big stage it is - straight away I was excited and it was brilliant to be involved. I gave it my all and I hope I did well."

Wenger selected a mix of youth and experience last night, which eventually paid off after James Collins headed the npower League Two side ahead on 16 minutes.

Kieran Gibbs levelled before the break with his first senior goal before Oxlade-Chamberlain drilled in a low, 25-yard effort on the hour and Yossi Benayoun wrapped things up late on.

And Oxlade-Chamberlain sees no reason why the Gunners cannot use the win to kickstart their season, which continues against Bolton on Saturday.

"Even though you may say it is against lesser opposition, we still had to bounce back from the result at the weekend, put a statement down and make sure we qualified for the next round. With a younger, less experienced squad we did that," he said.

"We just need to keep plugging away and it will come right for us.

"There are a lot of quality, quality signings here and a lot of quality in the boys that are already here.

"We just need to gel together now and kick on.

"I think we have what it takes to get to the [Carling Cup] final and put in a good claim in the Premier League and the FA Cup too."