May 21 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes that his meteoric rise from League One to England duty at the European Championship will stand him in good stead at the tournament
Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain feels his “mad 12 months” at the top end of English football will hopefully lead to making a significant impact for England at Euro 2012.
After reflecting on a “whirlwind” rise in fortunes this past season, the ‘Ox’, 18, made his full England debut during the 1-0 win over Belgium at Wembley on Saturday.
Just a season ago, the teenager was plying his burgeoning trade for Southampton in the third tier of English football, although they celebrated back-to-back promotions to take their place in next season’s Premier League.
Then came his dream move to London giants Arsenal.
He said of his meteoric rise: “If you don’t believe you should not be there, you are going to struggle. At first it is a bit daunting going into train (with the established England players) and play with those who were my heroes when I was growing up.
“But you soon realise they are human and you are all there to do the same job. They are all top lads, really friendly boys, and we are all there to play football for our country.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on as a substitute against Norway on May 26, said: “I think the way to describe the last 12 months is that it has been a bit of a whirlwind.
“I can remember playing for Southampton last year at Dagenham and Redbridge on a cold Tuesday night.
“I’m grateful for those experiences because, when you come from that and working hard in those environments, it makes you strive to come and play at places like this and play for your country.
“It has been a mad 12 months and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and it has gone so quickly.
“Everything I’ve learnt in that time I hope will push me on for the start of next season, because that’s going to be a massive season for me with Arsenal and my international career going forward.”
The wide man who was one of the few attacking successes on Saturday will be giving head coach Roy Hodgson something to think about as the team heads to their international base in Krakow, Poland ahead of their first group game against France next Monday.
He said: “It’s nice to get the first (start) out of the way. It’s a start in my England career, the first of many I hope. It was a really good experience for me and I enjoyed every minute.
“It was a bit of a shock when the manager told me but I’ve got to remember I was one of the initial players put in the squad so I’ve got to be able to step up and perform when the manager wants me to.
“You have to think ‘this is what I’m here to do, and this is what I want to do’ so I was delighted to get the call to play and obviously very excited.
“I wanted to try and prove something and at times I did. But I feel there is a lot more to come from me.”
Will he be making an impact in Euro 2012? The extraordinarily mature Ox thinks so: “Definitely. If you don’t think that, then you are not going to go far.
“If you don’t believe in yourself, I don’t think anyone else will.
“To get the call to come into the England squad, you’ve got to believe the manager has faith in you to do that and I believe in myself.
“But (it’s) one step at a time for me. I keep learning every day in training off great players that are with me and, if I get a chance again, I’ll do everything I can to impress.
“It’s about stepping up on the biggest occasions and playing in games for your country at Wembley. You’ve just got to take it in your stride and I think I did.
“It is just the start for me and I can’t get carried away. I’ve got a long, long way to go and I’ve got to keep working hard and try and make my future bright.”
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