Euro 2012 - Ox: It's all happening so quickly
Wed, 13 Jun 12:44:00 2012
England's teenage midfielder Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain spoke to the media this week about France, Sweden and his Euro 2012 experience.
Was it a surprise to be called-up for the squad?
I have said it before, everything has come as a bit of a surprise to me at the moment. It has been a mad year and everything has been going quickly. Then you have got to remind yourself that I was one of the initial people selected for the squad so that means I have to be ready to do the job when called upon and you quickly get your mind around that and focused on the job.
Did you expect to make your competitive debut against France?
It was a massive honour for me to get out there and represent my country in a competition like this. It was a nice surprise, but obviously one that I needed to expect and be ready for when it came.
How did you feel it went? It was a tough game.
Personally I think it went okay - I showed in small glimpses and parts what I can do. Personally I would have liked to have done a bit better and get on the ball more in positions where I like to attack players. But it is really hard against a good French side. They defend really well, as they do attack, and it pulls you out of position sometimes. But it is not about me, it is about the team and to come away with the result we did, the boys worked very hard defensively and that was the main thing for me: to make sure I did a good job defensively for the boss and for the boys.
Do you want to use this as a basis to now cement your place in the team?
I am only 18 years old and any chance I get I will try and take with two hands. I am always learning from the boys around me and I am grateful for any chance I get. There are some really good players in all positions and there is a lot of competition for places. I am sure there will be squad rotation because we have the players to do it and obviously there is a lot of physical demand from game to game. Whether or not I keep my place, that is not for me to say. I just keep on working hard in training and if I do get the call again I will give it my all.
In the context of the whole group, do you think a 1-1 draw with France was a good result?
Obviously we would have liked to win, and going ahead it is unfortunate that we didn’t hold out, but the way the game shaped up they had a lot of possession, and for us to come out with the draw was a good step. It was a good start for us and we can definitely get stronger. We showed our quality as well in glimpses. We will push on and get stronger from here.
Is there a bit of a lesson in that international football you may see a bit less of the ball?
Especially in tournament football there's going to be times and periods in the game when you come up against world class players in opposition teams and you are not going to get a lot of the ball, and sometimes you will. You just have to make sure you get the right result; sometimes you have to win ugly as they say. We have got a lot of quality in our team and France had a lot of quality, and to for us come out with a good result, we will get stronger from it.
What were the reasons England struggled to keep hold of the ball?
The French team have got a lot of quality players who play at the highest level all over the world. They have fantastic players and everyone knows that, but so do we. We had a spell in the second half I can remember when we looked really good and kept the ball for a little spell. Sometimes you have got to accept that the other team will have more possession than you and on your day you will have more possession than them, so if you do come up against that scenario when they do have more possession then you have just got to make sure you weather the storm and make sure you get the right result.
What do you think about your next opponents, Sweden?
Every game in this competition is going to be very hard for us. Teams wouldn’t have qualified unless they had the quality to get there in the first place so we are approaching the game the same way and we know it is going to be a tough game but we have the quality to do damage to any team. As long as we keep approaching each game in the right way, keep our eye on the goal, work hard, match each team we come up against physically, hopefully our attacking prowess can come out.
What have you been doing with your spare time and how have you found your first experience of a major tournament outside of the football?
It has been really good. The people who work for England and work closely with us set out a lot for us to do we are always kept occupied. When it’s football it is football, and we are really focused, but in our off time we have a lot to do. Whether it is table tennis, pool, friendly competition or banter with the lads, the boys have been really good. So we are not bored or anything like that. We are thoroughly enjoying the tournament, but at the end of the day we will enjoy it more if we get results.
There are not many regrets after making your first competitive start, but would one be that your family weren’t here to see it?
They are just on holiday. There was a lot said but they are just enjoying a nice family holiday and for me personally I know they were watching on the TV and that is enough for me. I spoke to them all and I don’t need them to fly out here to support me.
Have you had any messages from your dad, because obviously he has been here and done it before?
I spoke to him briefly because he was struggling to get signal on his phone from Portugal. I managed to get a two-minute conversation and he just said, ‘If you do get on or play, all the best.’
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