Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Hollywood cameo for a labouring England at Wembley last night provided an altogether too rare opportunity to appreciate his gifts.
It begs the question, how long can he continue to spend on the periphery at Arsenal before it begins to run contrary to his best path of development as a footballer?
San Marino were hardly the first awed opponents to have experienced the Ox with the bit between his teeth, Crystal Palace and FC Bayern Munchen did just that last term.
Yet four seasons into his Gunners career he’s yet to experience a season in which starts have made up more than half his total league appearances.
Gooners will point to a perceived inconsistency in the performance levels he shows for Arsene Wenger’s side.
However, the 21-year-old is stuck in something of a catch 22 situation, one illustrated by the fact that the bwin layers go 17/20 about him making under 11.5 Premier League starts in 2013/14.
There are simply too many players that rank ahead of the Portsmouth native in terms of seniority (when fit) for him to gain the benefits of making the XI on a consistent basis.
He would struggle to supplant Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez or Theo Walcott from an attacking three behind the striker.
Meanwhile in the less defensive of the two deeper midfield positions in a 4-2-3-1, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey bar his way to regular starts.
Like Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inconsistent use has led to a positional identity crisis.
Whether he’s a number ten, a central midfielder or a wide forward remains unclear.
One thing’s for certain, abundant first-team football will only aid him in his search for self-knowledge.
However, it seems at this stage that the minutes and responsibility necessary for such a process to take place may lie beyond the Emirates gates.