England star aims to follow in father's footsteps

Sep 05, 2012 - 08:14
  • England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain speaks during a press conference near Watford in Hertfordshire north of London on September 4, 2012. PHOTO/ AFP

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain aims to follow in his father's footsteps by inspiring England to another famous triumph in Brazil's Maracana Stadium.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been fast-tracked into the England squad by coach Roy Hodgson after only one full season with Arsenal and the 19-year-old looks certain to play an important role in his country's bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

If England progress from their group, Oxlade-Chamberlain has two reasons to have his eyes firmly fixed on playing at Rio's famous Maracana.

For starters it has been selected as the venue for the final, but equally significant for the teenager, the stadium has a special place in his father's heart.

Dad Mark Chamberlain was a top-flight star with Portsmouth and Stoke and enjoyed one of the finest moments of his career in 1984 when he helped England beat Brazil 2-0 at the Maracana.

The game is more famous for a stunning solo goal from John Barnes than for Chamberlain's efforts, but his son is well aware of the venue's meaning and he would love to emulate his dad by leading England to more glory in the Maracana.

"I hadn't thought of it like that. I've got to make sure I do well then! It would be really good to do that," he said.

"The only thing I saw from that game was the John Barnes goal and my dad celebrating. I never actually saw him touch the ball in that game!

"Obviously if I can make it that far, keep getting back into the squads and make it to the World Cup that would be another massive step in my career.

"As my dad played away in Brazil like that, it would be a good one for the memory book."

After growing up on tales of his father's career, it was inevitable that a sports-mad boy like Oxlade-Chamberlain would harbour dreams of playing professionally.

He still asks his dad's opinion on his performance after every game, but never got the chance to bask in the reflected glory of Chamberlain's Maracana performance because it happened nine years before he was born.

"To be fair I don't think that many of my friends could remember him! Most of my mates didn't know who he was until their dads told them," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"But he's given me many things over the last 15 years. He's always telling me what to do! Most of what he says has been correct up to now. He's been a massive help in my career so far. It's good to have him around."

There is another father figure in Oxlade-Chamberlain's life now who will have just as much influence over the next phase of his career.

When England coach Roy Hodgson named Oxlade-Chamberlain in his Euro 2012 squad despite his lack of experience, it was clear he felt the youngster could be a mainstay of his side in the future.

He showed enough glimpses of his potential in friendlies against Norway and Belgium to earn his competitive debut in the Euro 2012 opener against France.

That was his last appearance of the tournament however and Oxlade-Chamberlain begins England's World Cup qualifying campaign, which starts against Moldova on Friday, well aware that he still has a lot to learn after being told off by Hodgson for showboating in training.

"I get that from most managers, to be honest. Sometimes I do a bit too much. It's fair enough. I do!" Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"I probably took one player too many on and he quite rightly told me not to do that.

"He gives you the licence to take people on but so long as it's in the right area. You don't want to lose the ball in an area where a counter-attack could be on.

"I have to make sure I listen to it, learn from it, and don't make the same mistake again."

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