Wenger tips Oxlade to shine in 2012
Oxlade-Chamberlain, a £12 million signing from Southampton in the summer, has struggled to make the Arsenal bench on occasion this season but Wenger says the England Under-21 is now ready to be let loose.
Ahead of Arsenal's home clash with Wolves on Tuesday, Wenger said: "In 2012, at the beginning of the year, he will play games. He is not far away. He is a talented boy, it's all there – he just needs that toughness in the game because every game for us at the moment is so tight.
"The other night, again, I could have brought him on at Aston Villa and you have no hesitation to do it. But you do not want him to be a little bit overawed 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," Wenger told the Daily Mirror.
Although Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in the Champions League and Carling Cup, the 18-year-old's only chance in the Premier League came in the 8-2 defeat at Manchester United and Wenger admits he should have held the youngster back at Old Trafford.
"On the day, it was not a favour for anybody to come on. The team was completely lost and it was not the best of favours I've done," said Wenger.
The Arsenal boss is likely to use Oxlade-Chamberlain from the bench against Wolves while he will also get more opportunities when Gervinho goes with the Ivory Coast to the African Nations Cup.