The Liverpool and England winger Stewart Downing got picked by Roy Hodgson to go to the Euros which start this week, but suddenly the emergence of Arsenal’s 18 year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a surprise addition to the squad has made him feel that his automatic place in the England first XI is now at risk.
The Ox only joined Arsenal last summer from lowly Southampton, but with his extra training and exercise programs he has blossomed into a quality winger this season and his meteoric rise has got Downing worried.
He said: “I think we saw a glimpse of his talent at the weekend. He’s an exciting player, who can run with the ball and it is good competition for me.
“He keeps me on my toes and whoever the manager decides to go with then we’ll just have to keep fighting for our place.”
Hodgson has given Oxlade-Chamberlain the chance to impress in England’s warm-up games and he has conducted himself admirably for his young age. I can’t imagine that Hodgson will play him right from the start against France, but perhaps, like the young Theo Walcott, he could be brought on as an impact sub to strike fear into England’s tiring opponents……