While on national duty for England, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has spilled some details about his first match for the Three Lions and how he felt.
The Ox got his first England call up for the senior side in 2012 and has since gone on to feature for them 20 times, scoring four goals. The midfielder has slotted into the side well and appears to confident in his role within the team. However, it wasn’t always this simple for the 22-year-old.
“It was in the Lowry at Manchester before the Norway game (in May 2012) ahead of the Euros and my stomach was going like nobody’s business,” he said. “I had not been involved in any squads before.
“At that point, my first season at Arsenal had just been completed, so just playing against Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and John Terry was still very new to me.
“I was a bit star-struck shaking hands at the end of games. To go into a camp and be in a close group with them was nerve-wracking. After a day or so, you settle in with it, but to begin with, you are full of nerves.”
The Ox continued, “You struggle to eat your food. Your stomach is churning. You start putting things on your plate you don’t even like eating just to make time to look around to assess the table plan, see where everybody is sitting and work out where is the best place to sit.
“You don’t want to be taking JT’s seat on day one or Wayne Rooney to have a go at you for nicking his spot. There are all these things to think about.”
Who knew dining hall politics were so serious in football?
Talking about how times have changed, he said, “Now even the senior players are a lot younger.
“Nowadays it would be a lot easier to integrate yourself, so I don’t think there are many things you could do wrong. It is very friendly and there are no set places! It’s definitely the way to be.”
If the Ox’s performance against San Marino goes anything like his displays for Arsenal so far this season, he’ll have no problem. Although he hasn’t had the most game time, what he has had, he’s capitalised on.
In addition, the Ox scored has scored twice against the Italian team before and also got a few assists. Therefore, he’ll probably be feeling pretty confident ahead of the tie.