3 reasons why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should go to EURO 2012
In what has been a mixed season for Arsenal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s rise to stardom has definitely been one of the bright points. His performances for both Arsenal and the England under-21′s have resulted in Oxlade-Chamberlain receiving high praise from many in the footballing world. Able to perform at such a high level at the age of 18, some have called for the young starlet to feature for England in the coming EURO 2012 – here are 3 reasons why he should be on the plane to Poland and Ukraine this summer.
Unlike Arsenal’s Theo Walcott who didn’t play a single minute of the 2006 World Cup, Oxlade-Chamberlain would actually get game-time if he was to board the plane for EURO 2012. With his pace, technique and creativity, he could very well be England’s “trump card” and play a pivotal role in the tournament for the Three Lions. Also unlike Walcott who didn’t play a single game at top-flight level before being chosen for England, Oxlade-Chamberlain has played over 15 games at the highest level, including some games in the Champions League – he is a confident young prospect who has shown that he can play and perform on the big stage.
After Jack Wilshere’s breakthrough season last year, he was physically burnt out and why not? He played over 50 games for both club and country and he was only 19 years old at the time – due to the amount of games he played, it affected his fitness and soon he was out injured for the long term. Arsene Wenger would definitely not want a repeat of that, especially to Oxlade-Chamberlain who has become a key player for Arsenal these last 3 months. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t played as many games as Wilshere and with 10 games and 2 months left of the season, it is highly unlikely that Oxlade-Chamberlain will be burnt out and fatigued come the EUROs.
The whole experience of playing for your country at the highest level as a teenager is invaluable and would help Oxlade-Chamberlain develop immensely as a player. Of course, there are fears that he may not live up to expectations as well as him being exposed to disappointment (given England’s track record at international tournaments) but the same was said for his Arsenal career. To avoid a repeat of Walcott’s situation and the high expectations he was given after the 2006 World Cup, Wenger kept Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench and slowly blooded him into the team – however, Oxlade-Chamberlain was electric in training and when given a chance, he took it and is now a mainstay in the Arsenal team, being given games ahead of the now departed Arshavin, tired Gervinho & Benayoun. Oxlade-Chamberlain was also exposed to the massive disappointments from the 4-0 loss to AC Milan and the 2-0 loss to Sunderland where he scored an own goal, however like the Arsenal team, Oxlade-Chamberlain bounced back and gave stunning performances against the likes of AC Milan and Newcastle, showing his character and mental strength.
“If he continues to play like this I am convinced he will go to Euro 2012.” – Arsene Wenger
“Whoever is in charge of England will need to look at his substitutes bench and say – you offer me something different. And the Arsenal winger does just that. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a guy who can really upset defenders. He’s young and he’s driven and most importantly he’s hungry to impress, and he could catch a few international teams by surprise.
If people are comparing him to Wayne Rooney, I can see where they are coming from to an extent. Oxlade-Chamberlain is strong, he’s quick, he’s confident, he’s fearless and he seems comfortable playing in wide areas or through the middle, which are all qualities that people saw in Rooney as a teenager.” – Andy Gray
“Chamberlain should go with England to Euro 2012. He’s an absolutely outstanding player. I had him at Southampton, and gave him his debut at 16. I don’t give many people debuts at 16.
He just stood out that he was going to be an amazing player. He’ll be a great ambassador for the country. Physically I think he’s better developed for it than Theo Walcott was when he went to the World Cup. He’s one of those players, where you ponder, shall we play him? Is he too young? When you debate it with your coaching staff, you decide – no he isn’t.” – Alan Pardew
As an Arsenal fan, I wouldn’t really mind if Oxlade-Chamberlain represented England in EURO 2012 but if he were to go, I’d be quite happy – he is a breath of fresh air, is fearless on the big stage and can offer England a completely different attacking dimension. Oxlade-Chamberlain and the likes of Welbeck, Sturridge, Walcott and others can add speed and technique to England’s game and hopefully take them the extra mile this summer.