Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for England?

by admin

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

With both Euro 2012 and the Olympics getting underway this summer, it is perhaps no surprise that speculation has been rife over who will make it into Fabio Capello’s final squad for Poland and Ukraine, and who is in line for a call up for Stuart Pearce’s Olympic Team GB squad – and the Euro 2012 betting odds for one youngster in particular have just dramatically shortened.

Of course, with only three over 23-year-olds allowed into the Great Britain squad and two of those places already seemingly ear marked for David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, the main competition for places come from the younger players on the periphery of the England set up.

Tom Cleverly, Kieran Gibbs, Chris Smalling, Jack Rodwell and Daniel Sturridge have all been mentioned in association with Team GB having been there or there abouts with England in recent months, but one name has been bandied about by the media this week that had looked to be a cert for the Olympics may be about to make the step up for the European Championships.

The chorus of boos and jeers aimed at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was substituted demonstrated fairly aptly the impact the talented youngster had made having been thrown in at the deep end against Manchester United on Sunday.

His darting runs had proved a thorn in the side of the reigning champions all day before his incisive surge and pass set up Robin Van Persie’s equaliser; comparisons to Theo Walcott have been abundant during his short career – his vision and awareness in his sole start in the Premier League have led some to already put him ahead of his fellow former Saint.

The youngster, making his first full league start for the Gunners, demonstrated some of the electric pace and raw ability that earned him a wide array of admirers during his time at Southampton, and prompted Arsenal to snap him up for around £12 over the summer.

Now many national newspapers carry the story today that Oxlade-Chamberlain is being weighed up by Capello for England’s summer jaunt on the continent, with the Italian eyeing the three friendlies lined up before the tournament as the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at the Arsenal flyer.

Wenger has been naturally protective over his precocious talent – demonstrated by his substitution for Andrey Arshavin who would cruelly go on to play a part in United’s winning goal –  and it may be cause for serious concern for the Frenchman that his country may come calling so early in his career.

Perhaps it isn’t just a Frenchman that should be worried however but Englishmen alike, who have seen one of his team-mates come undone after being selected to early in career before being dumped unceremoniously for the 2010 World Cup.

Walcott was Sven Goran-Eriksson’s surprise pick for the 2006 World Cup but failed to play a single minute before the player himself admitted he didn’t deserve the spot on the plane while his dropping for the competition in South Africa by Capello added further weight to the claim his international experiences so far has affected his performances negatively.

The temptation is to unleash an unknown quantity on the unsuspecting world, an exciting youngster to inject energy into the side akin to the impact Michael Owen had in 1998 – but with that approach come real dangers that could harm Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-term future.

It is something Capello will seriously consider having seen what has happened to others; Oxlade-Chamberlain is certainly one of, if not the most, exciting English prospects around at the moment and how he is handled may shape England’s future success at major tournaments. The Italian may decide that Team GB is the right place for him to continue his development, after all.

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  • Mystical Mike

    if he actually gets a game under Wenger then defo! The kid is already years ahead of Theo Walcott. He’s quick, strong and it’s afraid to shoot

  • geoffreid

    why all the hype over the ox– if he is good enough then age should not be a problem-after all didnt a certain pele play for brazil in the world cup age 17.

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