Earlier this season, England and Arsenal’s futures seemed set to become intertwined due to the core of young players that were starring for both sides.
When England defeated San Marino 5-0, four Arsenal players – Danny Welbeck, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Jack Wilshere all started the match, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came off the bench.
Add in Theo Walcott, then recovering from injury, and the Gunners were ready to become Roy Hodgson’s main calling point for the next few years.
However, fast forward a few months and all of Arsenal’s English stars have regressed. Now struggling for starts in north London, it is unlikely they will fare much better on the international stage.
Welbeck has done little to prove his doubters wrong, scoring just four Premier League goals this season, while Wilshere has suffered more injuries and might be left out of Gareth Southgate’s U21 squad this summer despite being made available by Arsene Wenger.
Walcott has returned from injury only to become a fringe player for the Gunners, with their attack now built around Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. With his contract nearing expiry once again, Wenger could cash in on the winger this summer.
Chambers started the season in fine form, but a slew of mistakes have not endeared him to the Arsenal faithful, and it is still unclear where his best position is.
Things are even worse for Gibbs, who has been thoroughly usurped by Nacho Monreal for the Gunners, and faces more competition than ever for England, with Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand enjoying fine seasons.
Meanwhile Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to be a bit-part figure at Arsenal, registering just one league and one assist this term. A stark contrast to the rapid development of Raheem Sterling at Liverpool.
It is especially worrying for Arsenal’s England stars that their club’s revival this season has been founded entirely on other players. No Englishman has scored a league goal for the Gunners since Walcott bagged against Leicester in February.
All of Arsenal’s English players are young, so they still have time to force themselves back into the reckoning, but a few sparkling displays in the closing weeks of the campaign would be a much-needed fillip to Wenger’s English experiment.
The Gunners next match is away at Hull, a game they are 3/4 favourites to win.
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