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Arsenal ace won’t take England shirt for granted

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS

Sunday, September 9, 2012
9:22 AM

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain insists he is still on a massive learning curve despite forcing himself to the forefront of England head coach Roy Hodgson’s current plans.

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Oxlade-Chamberlain has made a rapid rise up the footballing ladder after playing for Southampton in League One just over a year ago.

The Arsenal winger helped England to demolish Moldova 5-0 in Friday night’s World Cup qualifier in Chisinau.

But Oxlade-Chamberlain knows he has a long way to go before fulfilling his potential and is determined to learn from the experienced players in the England set-up.

When asked if he now regarded himself as an England regular, Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “It is nice the manager put faith in me in Moldova but I know I’m no regular England starter at all.

“I was delighted to get the call. I wanted to make sure I was ready to give my all and help the team. But it is just the start of my career.

“I’ve got to keep working very hard, day in and day out, to make sure I keep getting in that team.

“It is not going to be easy for me but I’ve got to make sure I work hard enough to make it happen.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain is aware the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Steven Gerrard will be important to his development but has confidence in his own ability to perform.

He said: “It is brilliant for me. I’m learning from everyone that is here. Obviously I’m the least experienced out of everyone so I watch them all in training and the way they do things.

“I try and take that into my own game. It is great having senior players around me like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, all giving you advice and helping you along the way.

“But I’ve always been quite a relaxed person when it comes to playing my own game.

“I’ll try and be very hard working but when I get on the pitch, I try and rely on my ability and trust in myself and that’s all I can do.

“I can listen to everyone and any advice or constructive criticism they have, just take it into account and try and make my game better.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain has firmly in perspective the progress he has made during the past 12 months.

He said: “I don’t have to pinch myself about the last 12 months because what has happened is a small chunk of my career or what I see my career as being.

“I don’t get carried away or think I’ve made it or anything like that. I’ve got a long way to go, and I know that.

“But I get given loads of good advice on all sorts of things, defensively, attacking, it’s more team tactical advice that I’m given.

“Not being as experienced as anyone else, they can always help me out with that side of the game.

“But everyone says when I get in the attacking third ‘just do your stuff’ and that gives me the licence to know they are backing me and have confidence in me.”

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