Sam Wallace: Is Chamberlain the answer to midfield jinx?


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The Independent Online

Euro 2012 has turned into a tournament made for Michael Carrick. The problem is that Michael Carrick fell out of love with playing for England a long time ago.

On Wednesday afternoon, as the extent of Frank Lampard's injury became clear, Carrick's name was mentioned by more than one journalist at the England team's golf day at the Grove in Hertfordshire. Could this be the ultimate last-minute call-up for the nearly man who, at long last, was about to step on to centre-stage for England? After all, Roy Hodgson had said on the day of his squad announcement, when he revealed that Carrick had effectively retired from international football, that he might just be persuaded to return in a crisis. Now that Scott Parker is only considered fit to play an hour of games surely this is reaching the point of crisis?

Who do England have to call upon in central midfield, aside from Parker and Steven Gerrard? No England manager has been left this short in central midfield for years.

Injuries to players of the stature of Jack Wilshere, Gareth Barry, Lampard and Parker would hit any team at Euro 2012. It begs the question just how adaptable some of Hodgson's midfielders can be.

The intriguing option is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has already impressed the senior squad players in the short time the England camp has been together. Hodgson picked him as a winger but he played him in a more central position against Norway.

Asking an 18-year-old to play at a major tournament is one thing. Asking him to do so in an unfamiliar position is quite another. But there is something of a can-do spirit about this England team.

Once more, they will have to roll with the punches.