Apart from the RVP saga, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s call-up to the England squad is dominating the Arsenal headlines so far today. Clearly, the Ox is looking forward to it, judging by what he told Arsenal FC’s official website.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports News have interviewed the head of the Ox’s old school, Graham Best. Of course, he waxed lyrical about the Ox, as we all do, and a teacher at the independent St John’s College, Southsea, Portsmouth, added that the winger sometimes returns to there to collect his younger brother, Christian, from school. It sounds like the Ox’s head is firmly screwed on.
This was sort of backed up by the Ox’s dad, Mark Chamberlain. He told Sky that he’s glad his son got picked for England because it’s meant he’s not going to go on holiday with his mates. Although the Ox’s off-the-field behaviour has been exemplary, as far as we know, it’s so easy for professional players to get into scrapes. They get targeted at home and abroad by goldiggers and trouble-makers, so you can understand his dad’s concern, although the Ox could have been a professional rugby player with London Irish and is no pushover physically. However, the Ox should be safer with England, just like his dad says.
But will the Ox be safe from burn-out? I suppose it depends how much he is used by new England boss Roy Hodgson, but surely all the publicity, training and pressure will be draining. When he gets back, he will need to take a holiday.
I’m predicting the Ox won’t be on fire during the early part of next season, so I just hope Arsene Wenger bears that in mind when he decides how he should spend or not spend money on transfers this summer.