England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dreams of being the boy for Brazil – like his dad

The confident young winger would love to emulate his father at the next World Cup by being part of an England side that triumphs at the Maracana

Should Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain step out in two years' time at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil as an England international – and yes, there is a long road ahead and many potential pitfalls on the way – then it will complete a nice family story that began 30 years earlier.

That was when his father Mark Chamberlain won the fifth of his eight England caps at the Maracana Stadium in a friendly won, improbably, 2-0 against the most successful football nation on earth and in their own backyard. It is justifiably remembered for John Barnes' brilliant goal, starting on the left wing with him chesting the ball down and beating or evading five Brazilians before going past the goalkeeper Roberto Costa and scoring.

As Barnes turns away from goal having scored, Mark Hateley is the first to congratulate him and then comes Chamberlain wearing the No 8 shirt. Part of the England squad that flies to Moldova tomorrow for the first of the team's 2014 World Cup finals qualifying double-header on Friday, Oxlade-Chamberlain said yesterday that, having watched the footage, all he could remember of his father's performance in the game was the celebration with Barnes.

He was joking, of course, but then for a 19-year-old that match must feel like it belongs to a different age. England's famous win over Brazil was nine years before Oxlade-Chamberlain was born and, should he set foot in the Maracana either next summer, when England are due to play two friendlies in Brazil (although not necessarily at the stadium), or the 2014 World Cup, it will be a different place altogether.

The Maracana that Chamberlain senior played in 28 years ago has been rebuilt and is due to re-open in February. As for his son, he is a new generation of footballer: bright, confident and well aware of the expectations to perform on the pitch and to conduct himself well off it.

The baby of the England squad has only just turned 19 and has a wicked sense of humour, most of it at the expense of his father Mark and his playing career. The Arsenal midfielder was, however, struck by the suggestion that he could continue a family tradition by playing at the Maracana.

"I hadn't thought of it like that. I've got to make sure I do well then. It would be really good to do that. The only thing I have ever seen from that game was the John Barnes goal and my dad celebrating. I never actually saw him touch the ball in that game! Obviously if I can make it that far, keep getting back into the squads and make it to the World Cup that would be another massive step in my career. As my dad played in Brazil like that, it would be a good one for the memory book.

"Most of my mates didn't know who my dad was until their dads told them. To be fair, I don't think that many could remember him! When I said I wanted to be a footballer, teachers would tell me you've got no chance, make sure you do your homework. But at the same time I always knew. I put pressure on myself. Even as a 13- or 14-year-old at Southampton trying to get a new contract.

"I always tried to make sure I did my schoolwork so it wasn't the be-all and end-all, so that if I didn't make it, my life wouldn't be over, you know?"

Having been selected for the Euro 2012 squad by Roy Hodgson despite not having played previously for his country, the upward trajectory has been steep. It was only 16 months ago that he was still playing League One football. This summer, an injury in pre-season has slowed his progress somewhat and he made his first start in the league this season against Liverpool on Sunday.

It reminded you just how young Oxlade-Chamberlain is when he was asked which Brazilian footballers he admired the most and his recall went back no further than Rivaldo and Ronaldinho. As his introduction to the rest of the Arsenal squad, where every new boy is obliged, by tradition, to sing for their team-mates, he chose the theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which, first broadcast in 1990, also pre-dates Oxlade-Chamberlain.

He was famously admonished by Hodgson on one occasion for showboating during a training session, something that Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted yesterday with a guilty smile. "I get that from most managers, to be honest. Sometimes I do a bit too much. It's fair enough. I probably took one player too many on and he quite rightly told me not to do that."

Where now for the wonder-boy from the south coast? Asked what he considered his favourite position yesterday he said that he preferred to describe himself as an "attacking midfielder" which covers all eventualities given that he has performed in a more central position as well as out on the right wing.

As befitting one so young, he said that the step up to the England squad was a humbling experience and that the players "were all superstars to me". But who is he kidding? He has a good chance of starting against Moldova on Friday and providing England get their act together over the next two years he should be following in his father's footsteps.

 



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones