The Ox pleased to be back

After a difficult summer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hoping to put the World Cup behind him as England embark on a new campaign with France 2016 their goal.

The Arsenal forward was struck down by injury against Ecuador in Miami on the eve of the the Three Lions’ trip to Brazil, which meant he missed all three games in South America.

He remained with the squad with hopes of playing during the latter part of the competition, but with England departing at the group stage, it wasn’t meant to be for the 21-year-old, who struck a glorious goal on England’s visit to Rio 12 months earlier.

Switzerland v England

European Qualifier, Group E
7.45pm BST, Monday 8 September 2014
St Jakob Park, Basel
Watch live on ITV

However, though he didn’t kick a ball at the World Cup, he says the experience makes him even more hungry going into the Euro 2016 qualifiers after his return to the side in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Norway at Wembley.

“First and foremost it was nice to have the chance to be a part of the squad again,” Chamberlain told shortly after England arrived in Basel ahead of their opening Euro qualifier against Switzerland. 

“Wednesday was good to be back in an England shirt and we look forward to hopefully another successful qualification campaign.

“It was a big disappointment not to play in the World Cup. The World Cup in general was a big disappointment. It wasn’t just for me personally, the whole team was gutted after being knocked out in the group stage.

“Being there and experiencing our feelings of hope before it started, then for it to come crushing down in two games makes you want to be a part of the next campaign. The Euros are where we can try and put things right.” 

He continued: “Any experience is always good to have and is all stuff you can take forward. Last season wasn’t a good one for me for injury, but now that I am fit it makes you want to work hard to stay fit and you appreciate the opportunity to contribute and play football even more. 

“I enjoy being around the England camp – last time I was away was in a different situation, but I still felt part of the group and part of the plans to progress in the World Cup.

“I was hoping to play a part of it, but it wasn’t to be.”

England are preparing for their opening game of the qualifying campaign against the Swiss, and Chamberlain knows that it will be one of the toughest trips on the road to France.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Ox in training with England at SGP

While Norway on Wednesday provided a tricky obstacle as they sat back and defended for much of the game, Switzerland – who reached the last 16 of the World Cup this summer where they lost to Finalists Argentina in extra-time – will be much more offensive.

Chamberlain says the Three Lions will need to adapt their game, while maintaining the principles laid down since Hodgson took charge of the team in 2012.

“Switzerland will be a different outfit compared to what Norway brought to the table, but we’ll have to adapt to that,” he said. 

“The manager and coaching staff will have analysed how Switzerland play and we’ll approach the game differently to how we did on Wednesday.

“But the key for us is that we keep to the simple principles that the manager has been drumming into this week and the last two years. 

“Switzerland are a very good side, they have lots of quality and I’m sure they’ll come out at us a lot more knowing there will be times in the game they will have more possession.” 

He added: “When we get on the ball we need to play football, too, so I think it will be two good sides looking to play expansive football. 

“It should be good to watch and hopefully it will be a good game for us if we get the result we are hoping for.”