Euro 2012: Arsenal’s Walcott backs ‘fearless’ Oxlade-Chamberlain to shine

Theo Walcott is backing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to shine for England if given the chance to impress in Poland and Ukraine

Theo Walcott has backed his Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to win a host of new admirers at Euro 2012.

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder, who joined the Gunners from Southampton last summer, was handed his first senior international start by Roy Hodgson in England’s 1-0 friendly victory over Belgium on Saturday after being included in the final 23-man squad.

And Walcott, who was a surprise inclusion in Sven Goran-Eriksson’s England squad for the 2006 World Cup as a 17-year-old, believes Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fearless attitude can be a real asset in Poland and Ukraine.

“He’s always a threat every time he gets the ball,” said Walcott, speaking after the victory over Belgium at Wembley.

“[He’s] very positive, he plays without any fear and in this England team he’s playing with some great players that are only going to make him better.

“I’m sure if people haven’t heard of him before the tournament, they’ll have heard about him after it. I’m sure of that.”

And Everton defender Phil Jagielka agrees with Walcott’s assessment. “He’s had a good first season in the Premier League with Arsenal and he showed glimpses [against Belgium] of what a player he’s going to become,” he said.

“He’s a little bit fearless, obviously being 18 you don’t have too many nerves. Hopefully that’ll help us in the tournament.”

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