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England World Cup squad profile: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

England World Cup squad profile: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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The Arsenal starlet has seen his lightning progress crudely disrupted by niggling injuries this season but his versatility and fearlessness mean he remains a big weapon

In what will be his first taste of a World Cup, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will hope to provide the inspiration England need to navigate a tricky group which contains Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

The Arsenal starlet is a slightly less heralded but no less gifted youngster in a Three Lions squad which boasts several prodigious talents. Goal takes a look at how he is shaping up ahead of this summer's finals.

SEASON 2013-14 ANALYSIS

Oxlade-Chamberlain will arrive in Brazil on the crest of a wave, having been part of the Arsenal squad which finally ended a nine-year trophy drought with victory over Hull City in the FA Cup final at Wembley last month.

The triumph provided a happy ending to a difficult season for the 20-year-old, who found his lightning progress hampered by niggling injuries which restricted him to just 14 appearances in all competitions.

Eight of those came from the substitutes' bench but Oxlade-Chamberlain still found a way to remind everyone of his burgeoning talent, scoring two goals and producing dynamic displays in central midfield.

He does not approach this tournament at the top of his game but rather than making him rusty, Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury troubles might well ensure he is fresher and more determined to impress in Brazil.

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE

Oxlade-Chamberlain is preparing to play in his first World Cup after enjoying a more meteoric rise to senior international recognition than most over the past two years.

The Arsenal youngster had made just eight England Under-21 appearances before Roy Hodgson handed him his senior debut in a Euro 2012 warm-up match against Norway.

He went on to make Hodgson's final 23-man squad for the tournament and, even more astonishingly, started England's first group match on the left flank against France at the tender age of 18.

Oxlade-Chamberlain played as if he were born for that level, taking the fight to Mathieu Debuchy and providing many of his side's most dangerous moments in a 1-1 draw.

He made two more substitute appearances at the tournament, but did not feature as England crashed out on penalties agains Italy after a goalless draw.

Despite a lack of game time in recent months, Oxlade-Chamberlain should not be fazed by the prospect of playing in Brazil, having scored against Luiz Felipe Scolari's men at the Maracana Stadium in June 2013.

LIKELY ROLE IN THE SQUAD

Oxlade-Chamberlain's pace and skill mean he is once again likeliest to get his chance to impress on the flanks, where he is more than capable of challenging Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck for game time.

But unlike his wide rivals the Arsenal youngster has also shown himself more than capable of shining in a central midfield position, and Hodgson's relative lack of options in this area means he could yet break in there.

In a three-man midfield with Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson providing the strength and poise, Oxlade-Chamberlain's dynamism and ability to drive forward could give England a different weapon.

His versatility and fearlessness should - fitness permitting - keep him well poised to play a big part in Brazil.


                                     Oxlade-Chamberlain's 2013-14 Premier League stats

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