Chamberlain prepared for 'big season' with club and country

Friday 04 Sep 2015
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain smiles as he speaks to the press at St. George's Park

It has been 10 months since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last pulled on the Three Lions but after spending much of the year out of action he is eager to hit the ground running.

The Arsenal forward netted the opener for England as they beat Scotland in Glasgow in November before injury struck.

It limited him to just a handful of games towards the end of the Gunners’ season but he did return in time to help them lift The FA Cup.

San Marino v England

UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier
5pm, Saturday 5 September 2015
San Marino Stadium, Serravalle
Live on ITV

And he is now eager to repay the faith shown by manager Roy Hodgson as England face a European Qualifying double-header against San Marino and Switzerland.

“It is really nice to know that a manager has faith in you, which he definitely has,” said Chamberlain, who netted the first two of his four goals for England against Saturday’s opponents San Marino.

“It gives you more confidence and security to go out there and perform. It's something I'm grateful for.

“It's up to me to perform both at club level and when I come away with England to make sure he keeps selecting me. I need to keep repaying him with good performances.”

After scooping a second FA Cup winners’ medal in May and enjoying a relaxing summer and a focused pre-season, the 22-year-old feels that with his problems behind him he is in as good a shape as ever.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain talks to the press

Chamberlain kicked off the campaign in perfect style, scoring Arsenal’s winner in their Community Shield victory over Chelsea at Wembley last month and has been a positive, attacking influence in their opening four Premier League outings.

But the former Southampton youth teamer, who made his senior international bow over three years ago, says he must build on a good start to what he believes is a “big season”.

“In pre-season to hit the ground running was important to build myself back up to the level that I need to be at. It builds up that tolerance during a tough campaign and I feel good and so far,” he said.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates as he puts England ahead

Chamberlain's last cap was in November against Scotland

“My preparation has got me to a good point and a lot better to where I was last year. Even though I managed to get through 20 games at one stage, I wasn't feeling at 100 per cent by any stretch of the imagination.

“So it’s almost like a big burden off my chest that I can play with that freedom and I'm not playing in pain.”

He explained: "It was a knock-on effect from the cruciate injury that I had from the first day of the season a couple of years ago. It's all been a chain reaction from that.

The Ox's first England goal was against San Marino


"Then it ended up in my groins from the compensation and I struggled with that for a large part of last season. I didn't know what was wrong but just felt the pain in my groins, nothing was showing on the scans.

“I did everything in the summer to try and fix it but towards the end of the season something turned the screw, I don't know what.

“All of a sudden it went away as if nothing had happened, which always seems to be the case after a long injury.

“It's what I struggled with but so far this season I feel good, I feel rid of it but you always have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't come back.”

He added: “I do feel it’s a big season for me to kick on to my own expectations of where I want to be and where I want to push myself to.

“I had that in mind in pre-season and still now. I did feel really good, not with a point to prove, but I wanted to step up and perform as well as I can.

“I feel good at the moment and it gives you that bit of a lift mentally in that you can almost not worry about that side of it and focus on playing and playing with more freedom, so that’s been nice as well.”

After England play San Marino they return home to face Switzerland at Wembley on Tuesday night. Tickets are available from £10 for children and £20 for adults in the family section and can be purchased online here.

To arrange your travel plans click here.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor At St. George's Park