Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hopes to channel the spirit of Dani Alves if he makes Arsenal’s FA Cup final side on Saturday.
The England international is fit to take on Chelsea, but his recent three-match injury absence allowed Hector Bellerin a route back into the team at right wing-back.
Oxlade-Chamberlain shone in the position before straining his hamstring, winning man-of-the-match in the Wembley semi-final against Manchester City, but could now miss out on selection for a third final in four years.
Injury kept him out in 2014, while he was a late substitute 12 months later, and he said: “It’s a bit of a trend. When [the injury] happened I thought, ‘Oh no, here we go again’.”
In the meantime the 23-year-old, who is approaching the final season of his contract, has been studying the likes of Juventus’ Brazilian Alves to brush up on his knowledge of a defensive role which is still unfamiliar.
He said: “When I’ve watched teams that play with five at the back and wing-backs, I’ve looked at their starting positions and positions out of possession because that comes a little bit more unnaturally to me.
“I take note of anyone when they play. Tottenham play with that formation, Chelsea play with that formation. There’s a lot of teams who have played with that formation, so I watch all the full-backs, the left-back, the right-back.
“When I’ve watched Dani Alves recently, he might not play the five at the back, but the way he plays, he marches on and he adds a lot in an attacking sense as well as defensively. Players like that, you watch and you learn from them.”
Saturday’s game represents a chance for Arsenal to finish the season positively after missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time since 1998.
“There will obviously be that feeling of wanting to finish higher up the league,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “There’s no doubting that and we can’t hide from it. We need to own up to that.
“But it’s a big trophy, one that we want to win and it will definitely boost morale going into next season.”
The game could yet be the last of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year reign, with his future up for discussion at a board meeting next week, and Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “He has been a massive influence on my career.
“He took me from League One into a massive club in the Premier League and Champions League. That changed my career and my future, ultimately.
“We all respect our manager massively and we want to give him the win just as much as we want to give the fans the win. That’s the most important thing. It is Arsenal Football Club. Everyone here wants to win.”