Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has publicly admitted that his year-long England exile has been a “kick up the backside”, but the Arsenal man could be in danger of being overlooked for future squads given his place in the Gunners’ pecking order.
The Ox showcased his natural ability when scoring a brilliant virtuoso goal against Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season, yet it’s his inability to reproduce such moments consistently that harms his chances of being regularly selected for his country.
Still only 23, it feels as if the 25-cap attacker has been around since CD walkman’s were in fashion, yet in five-and-a-bit seasons at the Emirates, the former Southampton man has often frustrated in an Arsenal jersey.
Too much time spent on the physio table with various injuries has certainly arrested his development and his numbers make for slightly uncomfortable reading.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has not once exceeded 25 Premier League appearances in a campaign or bettered a very low ceiling of two top-flight goals.
For a player predominantly deployed in a front three, these returns are woeful. A big part of the picture is the Ox’s inability to nail down a starting spot for long enough under Arsene Wenger, either through injury or more often than not a more reliable performer getting the nod ahead of him.
This campaign is a case in point. Although he started three of seven Premier League games, Theo Walcott has established himself on the right through his blistering form and Alex Iwobi has forced his way into the role Oxlade-Chamberlain started in on the left.
Unless the Portsmouth native can somehow convince Wenger he is the man to rely on in a squad rammed full of world-class options then he will be jeopardising his England chances.
Judging by the previous five seasons and the way this one is shaping up, that doesn’t seem like being on the cards.
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