Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has said he believes England boss Gareth Southgate has similarities in his approach to youngsters as club manager Arsene Wenger.
The Ox, 23, is one of ten players aged 24 or younger in Southgate’s existing England squad and netted the opener during their 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw against Scotland last week.
Southgate was England U21s manager until he was offered an interim role as boss of the Three Lions last September. Since then, he impressed and was offered the job on a permanent basis.
Jesse Lingard, Michael Keane, both 24, have both earned their senior debuts under Southgate’s guidance whilst the 46-year-old has been keen to utilise players like Marcus Rashford and reward players at lesser clubs for their club form, like Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson with his first call-up.
With Wayne Rooney not involved in the current squad, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, 23, is likely to captain the side during their upcoming friendly against France.
During the media briefing ahead of this fixture, The Ox was selected to accompany his international boss. When questioned about the main differences between Southgate and Wenger Alex joked, “He’s younger, that’s the main thing.”
“They’re both great managers. Gareth is really well connected to the younger players and I guess that’s the main similarity with Arsene,” Alex explained.
“Clearly he, just like Arsene, gives the young players a platform to go on and hopefully do good things.”
Having made a significant contribution from the substitutes’ bench on Saturday, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping that his performance warrants a starting berth against a tougher test against Euro 2016 runners-up France.
He could face two of his club team-mates in Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud, who became Les Bleus’ eighth-highest all-time scorer after an outstanding goal against Sweden during their 2-1 defeat.
France themselves will be keen to return to winning ways, having conceded in second-half stoppage time after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’s costly mistake. Oxlade-Chamberlain, however, stressed how good England’s opponents are.
“They’ve got great players all the way through the squad,” he stated.
“If you look at their depth they’re not short for players in any position. They’re definitely one of the best teams in the world and that’s exciting to go and play against.”
“It is a friendly but it’s against a great French team and one where we’re looking forward to the challenge.“