Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is Arsenal’s sole representative in England’s senior side to face Scotland and France in June’s international fixtures.
Compared to north London rivals Tottenham who have five included, what does that say about Wenger’s homegrown philosophy?
On the surface, it would look rather disappointing and portray Arsenal in a poor light considering the amount of time and effort spent trying to develop the best English players at London Colney.
However, there are a few factors to take into consideration before criticism can be made towards Arsene.
First of all, two of the club’s Englishmen, Calum Chambers and Jack Wilshere, spent the season out on-loan. Neither was called up to the senior side, though Chambers has been named as part of the u21 squad for the European Championships in June. Chambers arguably had a better season than Ben Gibson, his centreback partner at Boro, but it is Gibson who got the call.
Wilshere is currently recovering from an injury sustained whilst on-loan at Bournemouth and there’s a genuine case to be made that he’d feature over both Jesse Lingard and Jake Livermore if fit and available for the national side.
Kieran Gibbs has only played 702 minutes of Premier League football this season, so it was always going to be unlikely that he would feature in Gareth Southgate’s plans for a national call-up. This is why speculation about his future continues to rumble, as he’d be battling with West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell if he played more regularly in England’s top flight.
Danny Welbeck’s injury woes mean that he’s an unsurprising omission too, especially having only recovered from knee surgery midway through the 2016/17 campaign. If things were different and the former Manchester United man wasn’t gradually getting back to his full capability, it would be eye-opening to see him not feature ahead of both Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford as part of the senior squad.
Theo Walcott has always been a divisive player among supporters for both club and country, but the fact that he’s only started one match since a forgettable 3-0 away defeat by Crystal Palace in April suggests he hasn’t played regularly enough to be seen as an attractive option going forward for Southgate.
Arsenal’s English core have mostly been plagued by injuries, haven’t featured regularly enough or genuinely been unfortunate not to feature in the England squad altogether.
In comparison to Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side, whose English players have surpassed a total of 11,000 Premier League minutes between them this season.
Eric Dier and Dele Alli have played almost every match this term, whilst Harry Kane didn’t let his injury prevent him from retaining the Golden Boot for the league’s top goalscorer.
This just highlights how pivotal a role their English core play in the squad, alongside full-backs Danny Rose (injured), Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, who has filled in convincingly when trusted to start for Spurs this season.