Cape Town - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is close to a regular starting role for Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger said after the winger scored twice in the side's fourth round League Cup win over second tier side Reading on Tuesday.
Oxlade-Chamberlain took his goal tally to five this campaign after his brace in Arsenal's 2-0 victory.
The 23-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain suggested earlier this month that he would consider his Arsenal future if he did not get more first-team opportunities.
"He's not a long way away from the starting XI... He just needs to continue to work like he does and play with the same spirit (if he wants to regularly start games)," Wenger told British media.
Wenger was delighted the England international was not only learning from fellow winger Theo Walcott but also applying pressure on him for a spot on the right wing.
"Sometimes before you felt (Oxlade-Chamberlain) acted like he didn't deserve to score in front of goal. Now you have hope whenever he has the ball that something can happen. He is powerful and finishes well," Wenger.
"He worked very hard in training and is following Walcott, on the same trajectory. They're lifting each other but they can play on both flanks as well."
Arsenal, who are second in the Premier League behind Manchester City on goal difference, travel to face bottom-placed Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.