Arsenal star sets sights on World Cup squad

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Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out of action since the opening day of the season but that hasn't stopped the ambitious youngster from targetting a World Cup spot and revisiting Brazil.

The former Southampton man scored a stunning goal when England drew with next summer's host nation in June, and that strike in the Maracana remains firmly in his memory.

Were it not for the injury picked up against Aston Villa in August, Oxlade-Chamberlain would have no doubt been part of the squad that qualified for the World Cup with wins against Poland and Montenegro and the winger will hope to add to his 13 caps next summer- providing he can find form and fitness at Arsenal.

The 20-year-old told the Sunday Express: "Scoring the goal for 1-1 at the Maracana last summer, having come on as a substitute, is a great memory.

"It was the inspiration for the whole team and for me personally to play there. Everybody wants to be in a World Cup in Brazil.The prospect of doing that is a motivation for me and I have to believe I can get there."

"First I have to focus on getting back into the Arsenal team and playing to a level that warrants being picked for England. I have to get my groove back, as they say."

Forcing his way back into Arsene Wenger's team may prove difficult for Oxlade-Chamberlain following the Gunners sensational start to the season.

With the summer arrival of Mesut Ozil and the extraordinary form of Aaron Ramsey, competition for places in attacking positions at the Emirates Stadium is as strong as it's been in recent times, and the pacey wideman will have to be patient in his bid to impress Wenger.

Having made his debut for the national team's senior side at 19, the winger believes regular football is the key if more young players are going to make an impression on the international stage, he said: "We have a lot of good young English talent coming through academies and it's important they get an opportunity to play.

"There would be a big benefit to the national side in the future by giving young England players a chance.

"I have been involved in England set-ups since the under-18s and have seen some great talent. I remember playing with Ravel Morrison and Ross Barkley, and now you can see them proving it week in, week out in the  Premier League.

"There are a lot of players like that coming through the system, like Andros Townsend, and if they get an opportunity in first teams, you  will see a lot more.

"The earlier you get boys like Andros, Ross and myself in and around the England squad, then three or four years down the line, players will be relaxed and comfortable in the environment and playing with so much fluency in the international game."

Oxlade-Chamberlain, the son of former England international Mark Chamberlain, may be talking about Townsend even more in the future, with the Tottenham winger likely to be one of his main rivals for a place in Roy Hodgson's squad next summer.

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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