Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impresses Arsene Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is impressed with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's fast development after seeing his two goals in Saturday's 7-1 win over Blackburn.
The 18-year-old scored twice while Robin van Persie grabbed a hat-trick as the Gunners recorded their biggest victory of the season.
"Chamberlain has made a big steps in the last few months," said Wenger.
"He has improved very quickly. He is a fighter as well, with personality, and is much more mature now."
The French manager, who signed the youngster for a reported £12m from Southampton in 2011, was confident of being able to field Oxlade-Chamberlain against Rovers, even though the teenager had picked up a knock.
"I would not have taken a gamble today," added Wenger.
"In a very short period of time he has become an important player who can make a difference. I rested him in the last 20 minutes at Bolton, so he was not pushed to his limits.
"The medical staff said there was no risk that he could damage his knee, so that is why I decided to play him."
Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his goals either side of the break to cap off an exceptional performance.
Despite his efforts, the former Saints midfielder said his place in the Gunners starting line-up was far from guaranteed.
"It's always nice to get on the goalsheet and in this league - I've been waiting for day like this," Oxlade-Chamberlain told BBC Sport.
"I've got a to put in a lot more hard work to stay in this team."
Having grown in stature over the course of the season, Oxlade-Chamberlain, son of eight-times capped former Stoke City and England winger Mark Chamberlain, is now being touted to make the senior Euro 2012 England squad.
"It would be very nice," he added. "But I must keep my feet on the ground.
"I have belief in myself and my own ability. I'll keep working hard then I hope the rest will come
"I'm in the Under-21 squad and playing for Arsenal - I'll concentrate on that."