His Arsenal side may have crashed out of the Champions League following a 3-1 aggregate loss to FC Bayern Munchen, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain enhanced his burgeoning reputation no end with a fine performance in the second leg at the Allianz Arena.
The 20-year-old winger put in a storming show against FCB, completing a whopping ten dribbles in Bavaria, which was twice the amount of second-best marauder Arjen Robben.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has proved a key weapon for Arsenal since returning from a five-month injury lay-off and the Gunners have only lost against Pep Guardiola’s side and Liverpool when the former Southampton youth has started in 2014.
He’s sure to feature when Arsene Wenger’s troops renew old rivalries with north London neighbours Spurs at White Hart Lane, with the visitors 7/5 to win on the road for the first time since mid-January.
Another fine show would surely solidify his place in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil and with fellow Arsenal winger Theo Walcott all but ruled out of this summer’s jamboree, the Portsmouth native should start the Three Lions’ first match of the tournament against Italy.
None of England’s right-wing options are in nearly as good form as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge – who is clearly a centre-forward – was tried in the position to little effect in the first half of the recent friendly win against Denmark.
The clash with the Azzurri in mid-June, which England are 21/10 outsiders to win, seems the perfect opportunity to unleash ‘The Ox’ and fellow speed merchant Raheem Sterling on the tournament, as Italy coach Cesare Prandelli won’t be expecting such a positive approach from his opposite number.
With England currently unfancied at 5/2 to win Group D and huge outsiders at 33/1 to win the World Cup, Hodgson has to play a wild card if his side are to make any impact on the competition.
The omens are good, as the 66-year-old started the then teenage Oxlade-Chamberlain in the first match of Euro 2012 – which England drew 1-1 with France – although Hodgson’s failure to start the Gunners man for almost a year suggests he’s no shoo-in for the teamsheet.