English Premiership

Wenger warns Akpom of work ahead

2015-07-16 11:24
Chuba Akpom (arsenal.com)

Singapore - Arsene Wenger was delighted with the performance of Chuba Akpom in a 4-0 win over a Singapore Select XI at the Barclays Asia Trophy on Wednesday, but the Arsenal manager insisted there was still work to do.

The England under-20 striker, who bagged a hat-trick in the Gunners' win at the National Stadium, went on loan to Nottingham Forest last season but Wenger is prepared to give him an opportunity to make the Arsenal squad this year.

"It's down to him," said the Frenchman of the 19-year-old. "I believe that it is an encouragement to do well and to continue to work hard. He is also a young player and it can lift his confidence.

"Let's not forget that today's game is a friendly and while he is a good talent, he has to work hard and do well in the big games.

"I sent him out on loan last year because I thought he needed that but this pre-season and during the season I plan to keep him with us.

"It's down to performance and attitude. He has that way to make between being a big talent and being an efficient player week in and week out. That's of course the target."

Akpom's performance was lauded by his team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"He's a very good player," said the England international midfielder. "He's very powerful and he makes good runs and that's what he needs to keep doing because that's when he's a threat... I think that he did really well today."

After being hampered by injury last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain is keen to get back into competitive action and to also make an impression.

"It's obviously nice to play a game again," said the 21-year-old.

"Everyone looks forward to pre-season because it's an opportunity to get your fitness back... I'm really looking forward to the start of the season."

Arsenal face Everton in the Barclays Asia Trophy final in Singapore on Saturday.

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