Oxlade-Chamberlain is Gunning for Theo

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If logic suggests coming in to an under-pressure team is a daunting stage upon which to begin a top-flight career, somebody forgot to tell that to Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The young Gunner has made a seamless transition from life on the south coast with former club Southampton, since his £15million summer switch from St Mary's to the Emirates Stadium.

A goal on his full debut in the Carling Cup against Shrewsbury Town was followed by another strike in the 2-1 win over Olympiacos, a feat which meant the 18-year-old had become the youngest Englishman ever to score in the UEFA Champions League.

On the international scene, a match-winning 2nd half performance from the bench in England U21s 4-3 friendly win over Israel made people stand up and take note, as Oxlade-Chamberlain played a part in every goal, setting up three of them and winning a penalty after a mazy run into the box.

But he didn't stop there. A hat-trick in Thursday's European Championship qualifying win over Iceland drew the plaudits from U21 boss Stuart Pearce, and for the first time caused Fabio Capello to indicate Oxlade-Chamberlain could be called into the senior side for next month's friendly.

Arsenal assistant Pat Rice has already backed him to challenge Theo Walcott for a starting place for club and for country, and at just 22, Walcott could be forgiven for already looking over his shoulder at a newer, improved model of himself.


"Alex can go inside, he can go outside, he's got that injection of pace and I think what he needs now is to be consistent in his play," said Rice. "He has a big, big challenge to now get in front of Theo.

"It all bodes well for England. [But] from Arsenal supporters' point of view, they are going to be seeing a lot of this boy.

"Alex is very friendly with Theo and no doubt he will give him the benefit of his experience as well."

Ahead of tonight's England U21 showdown with Norway, Pearce will be hoping to maintain his young Lions' 100 per cent start to their Euro 2013 qualifying campaign.

And with Oxlade-Chamberlain in line to start in Drammen, he sat down for a Q&A with

Q: Who was your footballing hero when you were little?

A: Growing up I would have to say Thierry Henry, but more recently it has to be [Lionel] Messi.

Q: What's your favoured position, right wing or centre midfield?

A: I like playing in both positions but have found most of my recent success on the wing, but can also see myself playing more central.

Q: Do you have any supersitions before a game ?

A: I always put my left shin pad on before my right! That's the only weird thing I do before games!

Q: Who is your best mate at Arsenal?

A: I get on well with everyone but I think I spend most of my time with Carl Jenkinson and Manny Frimpong!

Q: Who's been the biggest help to you [at Arsenal]?

A: To start off with Theo [Walcott] helped me out a lot, but everyone has helped me especially the manager and coaches.

Q: Who is faster, [you or Theo]?

A: I've never raced him but I think he's quicker than me even tho I hate to admit it.


Q: Who was the best player you played with at Southampton?

A: Adam Lallana! The stuff he used to do in training was unbelievable. Keep any eye on him, what a player!

Q: Would you rather play alongised Messi or Ronaldo?

A: Both, but if I had to pick one it would be Messi!

Q: If you were not a footballer what would you be doing instead?

A: Wishing that I was a footballer! My mum always wanted me to go to uni so I would have probably been bullied into that.

Q: Who is your favorite teammate in the U21s?

A: I like them all but I get on really well with Josh [McEachran], Henri [Lansbury], Jordan [Henderson], Flanno [Jon Flanagan], Jonjo [Shelvey] and Gards [Gary Gardner], so pretty much the whole team!

Q: How did u feel scoring at the Champions League for the Gunners and a hat-trick for the England U21s?

A: It was an amazing feeling scoring in the Champions League and the same for the U21s! It was a proud moment and one I hope to have many more times playing for the Gunners.

* Alex was answering questions via's official Twitter feed, thefadotcom.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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