Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Oxlade-Chamberlain looking forward

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the England squad for the qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the England squad for the qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain intends to take everything in his stride for club and country as England push on towards the 2014 World Cup.

Arsenal's attack-minded midfielder, 19, was called up into the senior Three Lions squad for the first time ahead of the 2012 European Championships, where he started the opening game against France in Donetsk. The midfielder, though, is determined to keep himself focused on each new challenge as it comes along.

Oxlade-Chamberlain told Press Association Sport: "My progress into the first-team at Arsenal and the senior England squad was quite quick, probably quicker than I ever thought it was going to be. I really just try to keep my head down, focused on my targets, and take everything in my stride."

He added: "I have only achieved a tiny percentage of what I want to achieve in a small fraction of my career. I know I have got a lot more hard work to do and a long way to go, so I don't really think about how quick things have gone because I just want to keep improving myself and keep pushing on."

Natural similarities are drawn between the progress of Oxlade-Chamberlain and his Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott, another product of the Southampton Academy and now regular for Roy Hodgson's England squad.

"Theo is a brilliant player, so I don't really mind getting compared to him," Oxlade-Chamberlain said. "He really helps me out a lot and has done ever since I stepped into Arsenal and coming away with England.

"This season he has been really good for Arsenal, scoring a lot of goals, which is what I am trying to add to my game, so I can learn from him in that sense. But I don't really look at it in terms of what he has done and what I am doing, I just focus on what I need to do to achieve the goals I set for myself."

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

"They will be two hard games in different ways, when we played San Marino at Wembley, it took us half and hour to break them down, so sometimes you have to be patient. Going away it will be even more difficult," said Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"We have to approach both games with the utmost respect for the opposition, prepare really well and will be going to get three points in each game."

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