Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to make Euro 2020 a special occasion for England fans, as he enjoys a fresh start to his Three Lions career.
The Liverpool midfielder marked his first international start since March 2018 with the opening goal in Thursday’s 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro, a result which secured qualification to next summer’s European Championships.
It was a special way to commemorate England’s 1,000th game, as former captains and favourites were entertained and welcomed onto the Wembley pitch at half-time.
World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst was in attendance, as were a number of players who featured at Euro 96.
But, with England playing their group games at Wembley and with the semi-finals and final taking place at the national stadium, Oxlade-Chamberlain wants the current crop to enjoy what is essentially a home tournament of their own.
“Of course it is something special for us,” he said. “The manager spoke about it after the game, he said we have at least three games and hopefully we will go on to have more.
“But it is a special occasion for any team to have home games in a big tournament, it is something we will look forward to.
“We will need the crowd to play their part and judging from the summer of the World Cup where I was at home and could see what it meant to everyone and how fanatical everyone was, I am sure they will play their part and make it special.
Great night at @wembleystadium for the 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣th game celebrations. Good catch up with some old @england teammates and legends and well done again to the squad on qualifying for #EURO2020 👏🏴 pic.twitter.com/00gOy3KeCG— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) November 15, 2019
“It is up to us to make it special for them and the whole country again but it is something we are very fortunate to have and we have got to make the most of that.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the run to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia through injury and has spoken previously about how he watched England at Shoreditch Box Park.
The 26-year-old was recalled into the international fold immediately by Gareth Southgate following his return to fitness in September but missed out on the Euro 2020 qualification double-header against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria last month.
However, he showed England what they have been missing by controlling an inch-perfect Ben Chilwell pass before firing the hosts into the lead against Montenegro with just 11 minutes on the clock.
After missing almost a year with a serious knee injury, Oxlade-Chamberlain is working his way back at Liverpool and feels he is ready to reignite his international career, too.
“In a way, yes,” he replied when asked if he felt like he was getting a new start with England.
“I have been around for a while and had a lot of injuries that have kept me out of big games and tournaments.
“I think that going to Liverpool people saw that as a new start, and then when I started to find my feet in midfield, it was like a new Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that people hadn’t seen at Arsenal quite as consistently.
“I was coming into that form when we played Holland and Italy in the March just before I got injured and I think I brought that form into England and it fitted into this team.
“But since the injury I guess I am trying to pick up where I left off with that in both Liverpool and with England.
“In that time as well there have been a lot of other boys who have come through; James Maddison is doing really well, Ross (Barkley) has been doing well especially with England and you have the likes of Jordan Henderson as well, Mason Mount has come into the fold now.
“There are different players and new dynamics so it is nice to slot back in and keep pushing myself to keep improving and try to find something different to help this team move forward.”
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