AOC: Young Gunners can fire England

  • Last Updated: March 19 2013, 8:48 GMT

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain feels Arsenal's England core can only get stronger - for both club and country.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Happy to be travelling with Arsenal team-mates
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Happy to be travelling with Arsenal team-mates

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 19, recently committed his long-term future to the Gunners, along with Three Lions squad-mates Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson.

The attack-minded midfielder will join Walcott with the rest of Roy Hodgson's 25-strong party at St George's Park ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Wilshere is not fit for these fixtures, while Gibbs has just returned from injury and Jenkinson will also continue to press his claim for a recall after a senior debut against Sweden.

It is a collective drive within the Arsenal squad for international success with England which Oxlade-Chamberlain feels can only bode well on the road towards the 2014 World Cup and beyond.

Speaking at an event organised by England sponsor's Vauxhall, Oxlade-Chamberlain told Press Association Sport: "We are all growing up together, and in similar positions with playing for a club like Arsenal and for the international team.

"It is good to have all that support around you, and mates too, which is the most important thing in football, the relationships with your team-mates.

"It makes it a bit more special to be able to go away with England and be with players from your club team.

"It will stand us in good stead for our club and also for England, because the more you play with your team-mates, growing up with them, you start to know them inside out."

Wilshere returned to action this season after more than a year on the sidelines through injury.

The England and Arsenal midfielder has drawn great praise for his all-action displays as the Gunners press for Champions League qualification, which were mirrored with England in the 2-1 friendly win over Brazil at Wembley last month.

"Since Jack has come back, he has been outstanding. He has performed to an amazing standard," Oxlade-Chamberlain said of his team-mate.

"For Jack, the injury he had, he learned a lot from that, he grew as a player and a person, to get back from that 18 months out has really shaped him, he is a dedicated professional - the preparation he puts in not to get injured in the future is amazing.

"He is the first one in training and near enough the last one out, doing extra rehab. He works so far to make sure he stays fit and it has worked well for him.

"Jack is a really good lad, maybe he comes across a bit shy, but he is really dedicated and focused on what he has to do."

England take on Group H bottom club San Marino away on Friday night, before then heading to Podgorica for a showdown with leaders Montenegro.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored his first senior international goal in the 5-0 victory over San Marino at Wembley in October, believes there is plenty of hard work ahead before anyone can think about booking their place in the final England squad for the flight to Rio.

"As a squad, we know we are not there yet and what a job we have in hand to make sure we do reach the World Cup," he said.

"This nation has too many talented players not to make it, and we have to do everything in our power to get there - starting this week with two hard qualifiers when we will be out to get the right results and push on."


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