Sam Wallace: Is Chamberlain the answer to midfield jinx?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has already impressed the senior squad players in the short time the England camp has been together

Euro 2012 has turned into a tournament made for Michael Carrick. The problem is that Michael Carrick fell out of love with playing for England a long time ago.

On Wednesday afternoon, as the extent of Frank Lampard's injury became clear, Carrick's name was mentioned by more than one journalist at the England team's golf day at the Grove in Hertfordshire. Could this be the ultimate last-minute call-up for the nearly man who at long last, was about to step on to centre-stage for England?

After all, Roy Hodgson had said on the day of his squad announcement, when he revealed that Carrick had effectively retired from international football, that he might just be persuaded to return in a crisis. Now that Scott Parker is only considered fit to play an hour of games surely this is reaching the point of crisis?

It was made very clear by the Football Association on Wednesday that Carrick is not an option, whatever caveats he might have given Hodgson. His agent discreetly informed the FA in January he no longer wished to be considered and his nine-year, 22-cap international career came to an end with so little fanfare that no one knew.

Who do England have to call upon in central midfield, aside from Parker? There is Steven Gerrard, one of the finest midfielders in Europe, and then the inexperienced Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones. No England manager has been left this short in central midfield for years.

No Lampard; no Gareth Barry and Parker carrying an Achilles problem. Jack Wilshere, Tom Huddlestone and Jack Rodwell are injured. Paul Scholes is still retired. Tom Cleverley lacks the experience to be called in ahead of Henderson and beyond that the options run very thin. Joe Cole? Not played for England since the World Cup finals. Leon Britton? David Beckham? Joey Barton?

It is a pity that it had to come to this in a position which England have been blessed with a wide choice of good players for a long time. They might not have always deployed them to the best of their abilities, and the Lampard-Gerrard experiment dragged on longer than was necessary but Hodgson has been cruelly exposed in one position.

Injuries to players of the stature of Wilshere, Lampard, Barry and Parker would hit any team at Euro 2012, let alone one which will play only its second game under a new manager tomorrow. It begs the question just how adaptable, some of Hodgson's midfielders can be.

Jones and James Milner can both acquit themselves in central midfield. The intriguing option is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has already impressed the senior squad players in the short time the England camp has been together. Hodgson picked him as a winger but he played him in a more central position against Norway.

Asking an 18-year-old to play at a major tournament is one thing. Asking him to do so in an unfamiliar position is quite another. But there is something of a can-do spirit about this England team. Once more, they will have to roll with the punches.

midfield state of play

Who's out?

Injured: Barry, Wilshere, Rodwell, Huddlestone, Lampard (right)

Retired: Carrick, Scholes

And that leaves...

Henderson, Jones, Gerrard, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Parker, who is carrying an injury

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker