Oxlade-Chamberlain deserves England chance

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Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to impress at the Emirates Stadium, taking every chance that's come his way thus far.

The former Southampton starlet moved to north London in the summer transfer window, having gained valuable experience in senior football during his time at St. Mary's.

Arsene Wenger was, at first, reluctant to throw the England U21 international into action. A cameo appearance in the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United was the only taste of Premier League football for 'the Ox' in 2011.

However, the 18-year-old's potential was clear for everyone to see, with goals in League Cup and Champions League appearances the icing on a cake of fine performances during both competitions.

Pressure was mounting on the Gunners' manager to give Oxlade-Chamberlain a start in the top flight, and it came against the Red Devils in the 2-1 defeat on January 22.

His substitution was met with jeers from the club's supporters, as the teenager had made a great impression against Sir Alex Ferguson's side. He was Arsenal's main threat during the game, and grabbed an assist for Robin Van Persie's equaliser.

If Wenger didn't know it already, the winger has quickly become a firm fans favourite, and only added to his reputation in the 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn over the weekend.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice and again picked up an assist in the win, which has led to louder calls for Fabio Capello to include the player in his next England squad.

The Italian is an admirer of the £12 million youngster, and was reported to be considering a 'fast-track' process to get the player involved at Euro 2012 only a fortnight ago.

Reports yesterday claimed that this will begin against Holland at the end of the month, with Oxlade-Chamberlain in the mix for a call-up to face the Dutch at Wembley on February 29.

With all the furor around John Terry and the situation surrounding the Three Lions captaincy, a call-up for 'the Ox' seems like the easiest decision the ex-Real Madrid chief could make.

It's not just an easy decision either - it's the right one.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is in better form than any other England winger at the current time.

Ashley Young has only just come back from injury at Manchester United, Stewart Downing has struggled for consistency at Liverpool, Aaron Lennon is injured at Spurs and Theo Walcott is no longer guaranteed his place under Capello. He's also struggled to maintain top form this season, by his own admission.

It could be argued that the other top English performer in the position this season has been Scott Sinclair, who has been the architect of many positives at Swansea City this term.

Whilst neither could expect to be an instant starter for England, their inclusions would be a refreshing young change on the international stage, and would also bode well for the long-term aspirations of the nation.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has refused to get pulled into the international hype though, and insists he's focused on life with the Gunners rather than breaking into the Three Lions fold.

"Obviously it [England call-up] would be very nice, but I have just got to keep my feet on the ground and take it step by step," said the youngster post-Blackburn.

"I am focusing on Arsenal at the moment, and am in the under-21 squad. All I can do is concentrate on what I am involved in."

Stuart Pearce has already passed on several glowing reports to senior management, most notably after a hat-trick against Iceland for the Young Lions back in October.

With pace, skill, crossing, passing and finishing all part of his disposal, Oxlade-Chamberlain already looks like a player with the talent capable of adapting to the international stage.

And, if Capello follows the lead of Sven Goran-Eriksson, who picked Theo Walcott for England's 2006 World Cup squad, the Ox could be braced for even bigger things this summer.

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