Hodgson - Chamberlain in contention

Image: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Backed to play a part at Euros

England coach Roy Hodgson insists Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in contention for a starting role at Euro 2012.

Coach looking at teenager to play his part

England coach Roy Hodgson insists Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in contention for a starting role at Euro 2012. The uncapped 18-year-old winger was the shock name in England's squad for Ukraine and Poland. Many people feel he could be destined for a similar experience to that of team-mate Theo Walcott, who was a surprise call-up for the 2006 World Cup finals but did not feature. But Hodgson insists that he would not have picked Oxlade-Chamberlain if he did not think he could compete for a first-team place. "I wouldn't have chosen him if I didn't think he was ready to start games," Hodgson said. "It won't be easy for him to break into the team given the competition, as we've loaded up in the wide areas because [Wayne] Rooney can't play in the first two matches. "But I'd like to think that I've seen him play in European matches. One of the games where he really sprang to my attention was the match against Milan. "He has a maturity beyond his years, he is a precocious talent. I think, sometimes, there has to be a place in the squad for a precocious talent. It'll help England's future as well. "I can't guarantee he will play. I'm pretty sure Sven Goran Eriksson selected Walcott for the right reasons as well but, when push came to shove, showed he wasn't quite up to it in training. "I'm expecting that Oxlade-Chamberlain will now be able to deal with that situation and won't be overawed by the Gerrards, Lampards, Barrys and Parkers. "I expect him to stand up to that, but I don't know. The only way I'll find out is to select him and sling him in at the deep end. Even if he doesn't swim now, he'll learn to swim in the future."

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