Euro 2012: Vermaelen ‘surprised’ by Oxlade-Chamberlain call-up

Thomas Vermaelen surprised to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make England's Euro 2012 squad but backs him to shine

alex oxlade-chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Arsenal last summer Photo: EA Sports, via Flickr

alex oxlade-chamberlain

Thomas Vermaelen admits he was “surprised” to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain included in the England squad for Euro 2012 – but has backed his Arsenal team-mate to shine if given the chance to impress.

Roy Hodgson handed the 18-year-old starlet a spot in his final 23-man squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine after the former Southampton midfielder impressed with a number of eye-catching displays for the Gunners last season.

Reports on Saturday claimed Oxlade-Chamberlain will be handed his first senior England start in the final warm-up game against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday – and Vermaelen expects the youngster to take his chance.

“I was a little bit surprised [to see him called up], but on the other hand he is a great player and deserves to be there,” Vermaelen told Sky Sports News.

“He did not play all the games for us at Arsenal, but he is a great player for us.

“It will be a good experience for him. When he plays he will play with confidence and without any doubt in his mind so I think he will be fine. I hope he gets some playing time.”

Vermaelen also heaped praise on new Chelsea signing Eden Hazard, saying he expects the 21-year-old playmaker to dazzle in the Premier League.

“I think he is a great player,” he continued. “Technically he is one of the best in our team. He will do well for Chelsea and I think he will be nice to watch for the spectators when they come to the stadium.

“I don’t know [if I am surprised he chose Chelsea ahead of City] because I was not there behind the scenes.

“He made his mind up and I think he will do well, I am convinced he will. I am happy he came to England, I think it is good for the national team as well.”

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