Under-21s' Ox in box calls on Young Lions to go for hat-trick win in Norway
Saturday 08 October 2011
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has called on the injury-hit England Under-21 squad to follow up Thursday's win in Iceland with a victory in Norway on Monday night.
Stuart Pearce's men maintained their flawless European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign with a 3-0 victory in Reykjavik thanks to Oxlade-Chamberlain's hat-trick. But the win, which kept England at the top of Group Eight after two games, came at a cost as Nathan Delfouneso, Martyn Waghorn and Martin Kelly all picked up injuries that have ruled them out of Monday's game in Drammen.
Norway have also won both of their qualifiers so far but the 18-year-old Arsenal forward believes the Young Lions can come through what should be a stiff test. "We want three points, nothing less," Oxlade-Chamberlain said. "We know it will be another really hard game for us. We have to approach it in the same way we did against Iceland and I'm confident that, with the ability we have in the squad, we can beat them.
"We have all got the same idea here. We want to qualify and we will do that by winning each and every game that comes our way."
Thursday's hat-trick was Oxlade-Chamberlain's first in professional football and it capped a dazzling fortnight for club and country by him. The former Southampton winger, signed for an initial £12m this summer, scored on his first start for Arsenal against Shrewsbury and then became the youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League, against Olympiakos.
The senior England manager, Fabio Capello, admits he has been impressed with the flying start the teenager has made at the Emirates Stadium but he himself is determined to keep both feet on the ground and instead chose to heap praise on his team-mates after the Iceland win.
"It was my first international goal so to get it in a hat-trick, my first in professional football, is something I'm really happy with," he said. "But the most important was for the lads to win and get three more points for qualifying.
"It's a team performance. We have only conceded one goal so far, so the boys at the back are doing a good job and so are the boys in midfield – the likes of Jordan Henderson and Jack Rodwell – and they are playing together well. Everyone in this squad is pulling together."
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