A sixteen year old sat and watched dismayed as Frank Lampard’s goal was disallowed when England faced Germany in Bloemfontein during the 2010 World Cup. Filled with a sense of injustice, and like the rest of us, he sat further disbelieving as England were torn apart 4-1 by a German side who appeared to have all the luck that day. As luck would have it, and fast forward to 2012, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has it within his remit to right that wrong, and having broken through into the first team at Arsenal and given his first start in England’s 1-0 win over a competitive Belgium at Wembley on Saturday, the 18 year old cannot quite comprehend what has happened in the last 12 months.

 

Next season will be massive at Arsenal says Oxlade-Chamberlain

 

It’s a start, I can’t get carried away, and hopefully I’ve got a long long way to go. If you don’t believe you should be there, you’re going to struggle.”

“It’s been a mad twelve months, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, you know, it’s gone so quickly. Everything I’ve learned in these twelve months, I hope will freshen me up for the start of next season. It’s going to be a massive season for me at Arsenal and obviously for my international career. I hope it will continue the same way,” said the talented midfielder after his starring role in the 1-0 win against Belgium.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s direct and fearless style will be a worry for group rivals France, Sweden and the Ukraine, but the level headed Arsenal star just wants to get on with the job at hand in Roy Hoggson’s England squad.

“I’m grateful for those experiences, and when you come from that, you have to work hard and it makes you strive to become a better player and to play for your country.”

Having missed out on his summer holidays due to his England call up, Oxlade-Chamberlain reflected on how things have dramatically turned around for him since Arsene Wenger brought him to the Emirates in a £12 million deal last August, and how his belief will see him grow into a massive future talent at club and with country. A confident player, he is not overawed at the sight of his former heroes Steven Gerrard and Lampard sitting across the dressing room, players he describes as “top lads.”

” I was in Portugal last year, there was a bit of hype about me going to Arsenal. I got spotted out there a few times. I went home the other day to see all my friends, and we drove past the pub where we all watched the England v Germany game, where Frank Lampard scored that goal that was disallowed.

” My friend said that it’s unbelievable that a year and a half to two years later, at the next major tournament, you’re in there with all the boys. It puts it into perspective. It’s a start, I can’t get carried away, and hopefully I’ve got a long long way to go. If you don’t believe you should be there, you’re going to struggle.”

Having played for over an hour, Hodgson remarked that Oxlade-Chemberlain “did quite well, ” with his runs past players on the wing and through the middle. There were a few efforts on goal too, and given his burgeoning reputation with strikes in the Premiership and Champions League, a first international goal and more in the Euros are a distinct possibility, as England look to build for the future by firstly exorcising the ghost of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.