Chamberlain must now step up, says Wenger

 

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has called on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Park Ju-young to make new year's resolutions to step up from fringe players to contenders for the first XI.

Wenger is concerned that his attacking strength is heavily reliant on Robin van Persie, and the players at his disposal will be further diminished when Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh head off for potential seven-week stints at the African Cup of Nations.

With this in mind, Wenger is hopeful that Oxlade-Chamberlain and Park, who both joined in the summer but have yet to start a game for the Gunners in the Premier League, can make the step up. "Alex is not far," Wenger said of the 18-year-old bought from Southampton for £12m in the summer. "In 2012, at the beginning of the year, he will play games. He is a talented boy, it's all there – he just needs that toughness in the game and because every game for us is so tight.

"I could have brought him on the other night [against Aston Villa] and you [consider] it. But you do not want him to be a little bit overruled by the intensity of the game.

"He is ready to play. He is just missing that experience at the top level. You have to throw him a few games."

Oxlade-Chamberlain's first experience of the Premier League was when he came off the bench in the 8-2 defeat by Manchester United at the end of August. It was an unhelpful experience he may want to forget – Arsenal were 4-1 down when he came on and Wenger added: "On the day, it was [doing no one a] favour to come on. The team was completely lost and it was not the best of favours I've done."

On Park, Wenger said that his own actions had as much to do with why the South Korea international had not yet made an impact as the player's. "It has been difficult because I have not given him the chance to play and the intensity of the challenges – some players take a short [time], others take a long [time]. But it takes you time."

Wenger has the utmost respect for the job Mick McCarthy is doing at today's opponents, Wolverhampton Wanderers, in the face of criticism from some of the club's fans. "Mick McCarthy is doing miracles at Wolves," Wenger said. "He is always ready for a fight, never gives up, keeps his steadiness and mental strength, never shows any strain.

"It is great what he does for his club. I believe that they play extremely good football as well."

Odds Home 2-9; Draw 5-1, Away 14-1.

Kick-off Today, 3pm (Highlights Sky Sports 1, 10pm)

Team news Johan Djourou (groin) is pushing for a return from injury for the hosts, although Francis Coquelin is more likely to start at right-back. Alex Song returns from suspension. For Wolves, David Edwards (groin) and Jody Craddock (hamstring) are nearing comebacks, but Kevin Foley (ankle) remains unavailable.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all