Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has called his snub from the Euro 2016 a squad a “kick up the backside.” The 23-year-old missed out on the squad but has returned for this week’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia (via ESPN).
He’s almost been a part of the furniture in the England setup in recent years so it was a surprise when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t travel to France for the European Championships in the summer. The Arsenal man is now back in the squad and has spoken about what it meant to stay at home during the summer.
“It provided a kick up the backside,” said the 23-year-old. “I have been playing for England since I was 18 and while I wouldn’t say I took it all for granted it just seemed to be a part of my season — to play for Arsenal and to play for England.
“And so to be available and to be feeling good and fit — to not be in, yeah, it was a jolt.
“It was a wake-up call. I am not young now, I am 23, so you need to be performing and playing as much as you can to deserve a chance to go and play for England.
“So I wouldn’t say I had taken it for granted but being back in the set-up now makes me realise how special it is and it is something I want to keep happening in the foreseeable future.
The ex-Southampton man’s form has been a little better this season but The Ox has struggled to find a place in the team what with the incredible form of Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott. The 23-year-old’s ability has never been in doubt. He’s good on the ball, a decent finisher and is such a powerful runner that he can be very difficult to stop, but his problem seems to be more psychological.
“There will be times where I’ve lost a bit of confidence,” Oxlade-Chamberlain went on, “and there’s been times where I’ve looked for the more simple options but that’s part of learning and developing as a young player.”
Arsene Wenger said at the start of the season just how big a year this is for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. If he doesn’t start showing that ability on the pitch we all know he possesses then it might not just be his England place which is in doubt, but his Arsenal one as well.