Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has become the second-youngest player to represent England at a Euro’s after he was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up for England’s 1-1 draw with France.
The record for the youngest player to represent England is currently held by Theo Walcott, who also played for Southampton before he joined Arsenal. Walcott was famously included in the squad for the World Cup in 2006, but unfortunately did not feature. Maybe there is just something special about Arsenal/Ex-Southampton players?
Alex was a constant threat down the right-hand side and even showed off some of his fantastic skills. The fact that he picked up a yellow card is simply a small blip in an otherwise fantastic performance.
The Ox was replaced by Jermain Defoe with around 15 minutes left, with Walcott making a cameo appearance for the final two minutes. Given that he is so inexperienced, I was very surprised that he started ahead of some of the more established players in the England squad; Walcott was the most obvious choice or we could have started with Welbeck on the wing and Jermain Defoe up front. However, I am very excited to see that Roy Hodgson is willing to give some of the younger players a chance in the team.
Speaking after the game, AOC said:
“It was a massive honour for me to get out there today and represent my country in a competition like this.
“Personally, I think it went OK. I showed in small glimpses what I can do.
“I would like to have done a bit better and got on the ball a bit more in different positions, where I like to attack players, but it was really hard against a good French side.”
The only criticism I have is that the way I felt that England set up did not particularly suit Alex’s game. Hodgson is known for being a slightly more defensive manager, and I felt that sometimes Oxlade-Chamberlain and Welbeck lacked support from the other players in midfield. That said, I am very excited for the future of English football with players like Oxlade, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere (when was fit) in the team.