Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earns England chance to sink or swim at Euro 2012


The comparison with Theo Walcott is a natural one for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to face given the position he plays in and the club he plays for, but Roy Hodgson was clear yesterday that there was no prospect of the Arsenal teenager having a similar experience to the one his club-mate went through at the 2006 World Cup finals.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is in the England squad because Hodgson believes that the 18-year-old is ready to play – and even ready to start games. For a young man who had not played above League One before the start of the season that is quite an endorsement as England prepare to play the best in European football at Euro 2012 next month.

"I wouldn't have chosen him if I didn't think he was ready to start games," Hodgson said. "It won't be easy for him to break into the team given the competition, as we've loaded up in the wide areas because [Wayne] Rooney can't play in the first two matches. But I'd like to think that, I've seen him play in European matches. One of the games where he really sprang to my attention was the match against Milan."

In his television press conferences, Hodgson had claimed that he had seen Oxlade-Chamberlain thrive against Andrea Pirlo in that sparkling second-leg performance at the Emirates, later correcting himself. Pirlo, so long a Milan stalwart, is at Juventus now but the memory of Oxlade-Chamberlain's performance in Arsenal's 3-0 win at home clearly still resonated with the England manager.

"He has a maturity beyond his years," Hodgson added of Oxlade-Chamberlain. "He is a precocious talent. I think, sometimes, there has to be a place in the squad for a precocious talent. It'll help England's future as well.

"I can't guarantee he will play. I'm pretty sure Sven Goran Eriksson selected Walcott for the right reasons as well but, when push came to shove, showed he wasn't quite up to it in training.

"I'm expecting that Oxlade-Chamberlain will now be able to deal with that situation and won't be overawed by the Gerrards, Lampards, Barrys and Parkers. I expect him to stand up to that, but I don't know. The only way I'll find out is to select him and sling him in at the deep end. Even if he doesn't swim now, he'll learn to swim in the future."

It felt like a fair assessment of the boy who joined Arsenal for £15m last summer and went beyond all expectations last season by making 26 first-team appearances. He is clearly much further ahead in his development than Walcott, who was also signed from Southampton, was when, as a 17-year-old, he was picked in Eriksson's 2006 World Cup finals squad never having made a senior appearance for Arsenal and was a long way out of his depth.

Oxlade-Chamberlain said: "It is massive to have Theo in the squad as well. To be named in the squad, straight away you think of everyone else there. I have been watching the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and John Terry for a number of years on TV and also playing for England. That only seems like yesterday and now I'm going with them, it is a bit daunting but I can't wait. Straight away, I thought about how good it would be having Theo there, I have a mate."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power