Player to watch this weekend: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) 0

Given how prone we are to over-hyping talent in this country, it’s staggering that more fuss isn’t made of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Danny Welbeck enjoys the reflected greatness of Manchester United, Jack Wilshere is spoken of in a way that should make him blush, and Theo Walcott’s absence from England’s World Cup party is seen as a significant blow to the nation’s hopes.

Fine - but I would trade all three for a fit and able Oxlade-Chamberlain.

For keen supporters of his talent, there was a very gratifying moment during Arsenal’s recent draw with Bayern Munich: he picked the ball up on the left-hand side, and slalomed past defender-after-defender before being cynically fouled on the edge of the box. For an hour he frightened the life out of arguably the most secure side in Europe, and only a lack of match-fitness prevented him from making a more sustained impact.

If you weren’t a convert before then, you certainly are now.

His talent is obvious, but the beauty of Oxlade-Chamberlain really lies in his positional dexterity. Dangerous from the right, the left, and the centre, he combines his range of attacking attributes with a more conventional set of midfield abilities, and is subsequently of enormous value to both his club and country.

This is a star in the making, and someone who Tottenham should be terrified of this weekend. He’s a threat in so many different areas: he can beat isolated defenders easily, he has the intelligence to operate around the edge of the box, and he has cold-blooded composure in front of goal - he’s the complete package, and yet he’s someone who never seems to attract the hyperbole we afford to lesser talents.

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