Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain surprised by England call-up for Euro 2012

 

Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said his call-up to the England squad for Euro 2012 felt "surreal" but he is ready to seize his chance in Poland and the Ukraine.

The 18-year-old was included in England manager Roy Hodgson's 23-strong squad for next month's European Championships after impressing during his debut season at Arsenal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain joined the London club from npower Championship side Southampton last summer, and his inclusion in Hodgson's plans is the culmination of a season which saw him put himself on the map in both the Barclays Premier League and Champions League.

"I'm obviously delighted," Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal.com.

"To be picked for your country at any stage is a massive honour and to be at a huge tournament likes the Euros is such a bonus.

"I would have probably laughed if someone had told me I would be in the Euro 2012 a year ago.

"Obviously you would like to think that and it is what you aim towards but sometimes you have to be realistic and realise it might take a little bit longer than that.

"So for everything to happen as quickly as it has, it has been surreal and I don't think it has really sunk in properly yet.

"I know I haven't made it and I have a long way to go but this is the first step in what I hope to be a long and successful international career."

The winger, who has also played at under-21 level this season, admitted the call from Hodgson came as a surprise, but he is determined to make an impact during the competition and win his first senior England cap.

"I got a call this [Wednesday] morning from the manager and he just explained it to me then - that was about two hours before it was announced," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"He said it was down to merit and I just have to prove him right.

"I am just looking forward to going there, learning from all the experienced players, training with them and trying my hand at everything. I am absolutely buzzing.

"I will just try and make things happen, although I know there are other players who can do that. It will just be nice to get the opportunity and I will see what I can do.

"I think I play with no fear, I run at players regardless of who they are and try to make a difference. I have a youthful enthusiasm and I am so excited about this that I will try and take any opportunity with both hands.

"It is a good opportunity for me to go and learn from everyone and if I do get a chance, work as hard as I can to make an impression and prove myself."

PA

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