Euro 2012: Oxlade-Chamberlain delighted to make starting line-up
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain vows to take his opportunities "with both hands" after he impressed in England's draw with France
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted his delight – and surprise – at being handed a spot in England’s starting line-up against France in their Euro 2012 opener.
Roy Hodgson caused a stir by opting to deploy the 18-year-old in Donetsk, leaving the likes of Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing on the bench.
But the Arsenal midfielder produced a display beyond his years on the left wing as England were held to a draw, with Samir Nasri cancelling out Joleon Lescott’s opener in their opening Group D game.
“I thought I did OK,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told ITV1. “It was a bit frustrating at times for me to get the space to do what I like to do: run at people and find space out wide. But we had to play compact against a good French team who almost overloaded the midfield.
“Obviously I’m delighted to represent my country and I gave everything. But it wasn’t about me tonight, it was the team and getting a good result.
“Against a good French side, we’ll take a draw and we’ll move on and get stronger from here.
“Everything’s coming as a surprise to me at the moment but I have to remind myself that I was one of the initial players picked for the squad so I’m here to do this job, and when called upon I’ve got to make sure I’m ready.”
The former Southampton youngster accepted that France had the upper hand in the game but felt England were deserving of their point.
“I think we showed that we can stick with them [France],” he continued. “Sometimes, especially in tournament football, you’re going to be outplayed and it’s just about getting the right result. I think we got a good result – we came looking for a win but we’ll take the draw and get stronger.”
Asked if he thinks he will get more opportunities in England’s group games, he replied: “I don’t know, that’s not for me to say. We’ve got some really good players in the squad. I’m presuming there will be squad rotation throughout the tournament and the boss will use all the resources he has.
“You’ve just got to respect that, wait for your next chance, and take it with two hands.”
Meanwhile, captain Steven Gerrard believes Oxlade-Chamberlain showed he can cut it at international level with his performance on Monday.
“I think Wayne Rooney showed all those years ago that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. And I think Oxlade-Chamberlain showed tonight that he’s good enough for this level,” said Gerrard.
“He’s still got a lot of learning to do but playing with experience players, he’ll pick that up quickly.”