Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain eager to remain focused for both Arsenal and England

The midfielder has been surprised by the speed of his progress

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain intends to take everything in his stride for club and country as England push on towards the 2014 World Cup.

Arsenal's attack-minded midfielder, 19, was called up into the senior Three Lions squad for the first time ahead of the 2012 European Championships, where he started the opening game against France in Donetsk.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has certainly come a long way in a short time since being signed by Arsene Wenger as a raw talent from Southampton two years ago.

The midfielder, though, is determined to keep himself focused on each new challenge as it comes along.

Speaking at an event organised by England sponsor's Vauxhall, Oxlade-Chamberlain told Press Association Sport: "I have a bit more experience now, from both club and international level, on and off the pitch.

"The experience of going to the Euros with tournament football stands me in better stead looking towards the World Cup, but I still have a lot of hard work to do to make that squad for Brazil, if we do qualify."

Oxlade-Chamberlain added: "My progress into the first-team at Arsenal and the senior England squad was quite quick, probably quicker than I ever thought it was going to be.

"I really just try to keep my head down, focused on my targets, and take everything in my stride.

"I have only achieved a tiny percentage of what I want to achieve in a small fraction of my career.

"I know I have got a lot more hard work to do and a long way to go, so I don't really think about how quick things have gone because I just want to keep improving myself and keep pushing on."

Natural similarities are drawn between the progress of Oxlade-Chamberlain and his Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott, another product of the Southampton Academy and now regular for Roy Hodgson's England squad.

"Theo is a brilliant player, so I don't really mind getting compared to him," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"He really helps me out a lot and has done ever since I stepped into Arsenal and coming away with England.

"This season he has been really good for Arsenal, scoring a lot of goals, which is what I am trying to add to my game, so I can learn from him in that sense.

"But I don't really look at it in terms of what he has done and what I am doing, I just focus on what I need to do to achieve the goals I set for myself."

Defender Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of the England squad as the Manchester United veteran continues to carefully manage his fitness.

Oxlade-Chamberlain feels it is important to get the right blend of promising youth and experience within Hodgson's group.

"Rio not joining the squad is disappointing for us, but whomever comes in to replace him is capable of doing a good job," he said.

"With the experience of these players, it is really important to have that, I learned that from going to the Euros, when I was one of the most inexperienced players there.

"To have players like Steven Gerrard around me, to be telling me what is what, just watching the way he trains.

"We have a good balance in the squad and the younger ones can always learn from them."

England take on Group H bottom side San Marino away on Friday night, before then heading to Podgorica for a showdown with leaders Montenegro.

"They will be two hard games in different ways, when we played San Marino at Wembley, it took us half and hour to break them down, so sometimes you have to be patient. Going away it will be even more difficult," said Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored his first senior international goal in the 5-0 victory over San Marino at Wembley in October.

"We have to approach both games with the utmost respect for the opposition, prepare really well and will be going to get three points in each game.

"Montenegro are top of the group at the moment, but we have the quality in our team to come away with victory if we do everything right."

Oxlade-Chamberlain, though, maintains there is no sense within the England camp of the job already being done.

"As a squad, we know we are not there yet and what a job we have in hand to make sure we do reach the World Cup," he said.

"This nation has too many talented players not to make it, and we have to do everything in our power to get there - starting this week with two hard qualifiers when we will be out to get the right results and push on."

PA

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine