So the sun has decided it doesn’t want to be part of the Queens diamond jubilee this weekend. The distinct lack of sun may just be the lasting memory of the weekend though credit to the British faithful many a street party continued through the rain. It is the British way I guess, what way to celebrate the queen’s special day than with the kind of weather we are known for in Britain. It seems the greedy sun managed to take any juicy Arsenal news with him, let’s hope when he returns he doesn’t come back empty-handed.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his hotly anticipated full debut for England as he started against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday. I suppose there was very high expectation of what this kid could do and England fans observed with a fine toothed comb how Alex could be the answer to the underwhelming buzz emanating from the England camp.
In fairness I have seen Alex play a lot better, he frittered in and out of the game, did some good things, tried some things that didn’t come off but was always trying. Maybe trying a bit too hard but we have to take into account he was making his first start in front of a packed Wembley and live on national TV.
The more involved he is with the England camp the more he will grow and add more influence to the team. In a way I believe the more subdued performance is the best thing for Oxlade-Chamberlain at this stage. The fanfare that was building up around him based on a 15 minute cameo against Norway was gaining momentum. As much as an Arsenal fan I want the Ox to succeed what I don’t want is the customary unfair pressure heaped on him as the answer to the loss of more experienced members of the squad due to injuries. He is only 18 after all, he needs the patience any young player deserves.
England, going into tournaments usually has a core of players that the England fans deem essential to the chances of success of their team. Any injuries to that core of players and the nation are in complete disarray as to who will carry the team to victory. In the past Beckham’s metatarsal dominated front pages as much as the back pages of the red tops, Rooney’s fitness also carried similar interest.
This year, given the underwhelming response to the squad selected by Roy Hodgson England clearly seems to be lacking in the names with which our hopes are pinned on. Injuries have robbed England of some of those players, Jack Wilshere being one of the players which would have excited the fans.
At the same time the more experienced players who had to withdraw from the squad such as Lampard and Barry have been big blows to the England squad though it didn’t quite have that feel of it being the end of the world that they were missing. The quality of the replacements probably added more to the lukewarm expectations currently being felt. Rooney not being part of the first two games in the group stages just means he is at the back of England fans minds.
Usually England goes into these tournaments with many players prematurely dubbed as the stars of the team by the press; never quite works out that way. This time around England will start the Euros with no such stars and poster boys for their campaign. Rooney can’t be used as the poster boy as England potentially could well be out of the reckoning before he even gets on the pitch.
It is a chance for a name to be made, on par with David Platt making a name for himself at Italia 90. The important point is the opportunity is there for the name to be made through the performances in the tournament and not before a ball has been kicked. And that’s why after Saturday the buzz around Oxlade-Chamberlain will have cooled and the expectation lowered now hopefully he can kick on and have a good tournament.
The opportunity is there now to prove what us Arsenal fans have seen and know he is capable of without the fanfare.