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April 2021

The future for England is Oxlade-Chamberlain

By Blacksheep

And did those feet in Säo Paulo…a few thoughts on the World Cup from an Arsenal perspective

Here we are then, just entering the second weekend of Brazil 2014 and already one of the favorites for the tournament are out as are England’s hopes of this being ‘our year’ (again).

Now I’m aware that readers of Untold come from all over the globe and what unites us is a love of Arsenal not necessarily a shared patriotism.

I am English (technically north-London English) but don’t always find it easy to cheer for the England team. I was cheering on Saturday night as they lost to Italy, mainly because I thought they played quite good football and looked easy on the eye. Wind forward to Thursday and the same old England – tired, bereft of ideas, nervous – were well beaten by Luis Suárez’s Uruguay.

Costa Rica completed the sense of inevitable depression by beating Italy and eliminating us before match three. In terms of Arsenal interest Jack got about 20 minutes against the Italians but Roy Hodgson opted not to use him against Uruguay. The Ox got banjaxed before the tournament started and so may well come home without kicking a ball in anger.

That would be a real shame because I think he has the potential to be a great England player. I think its time for the likes of Gerrard to step aside and for England to let the next generation (which should include Ox, Wilshere, Gibbs and maybe Jenks) to step up. If only Theo had been fit…

The group did show us what a talent Wenger has unearthed in Joel Campbell. His goal and assist against Uruguay were excellent and he was denied the most nailed on of nailed on penalties against Italy. He returns to Colney for pre-season training but it remains to be seen whether Wenger puts him in the first team squad. I have heard rumours that he is to be a makeweight in a deal to bring Mario Balotelli to the Emirates. Sounds a bit far fetched to me.

Elsewhere I saw very little of Germany’s win against Portugal but noted that so much of the Germans’ game goes through Özil. If anyone is any doubt about that man’s abilities, just look at how one of the best teams in the world rate him. You might then compare that to Spain who, despite playing some of the worst football I’ve seen from them, couldn’t find a space for Cesc Fabregas. Arsene knows.

Yesterday we saw more of Mesut as Germany take on Ghana with BFG earning his 100th cap.  Germany have hired a trampoline so that someone can actually reach to put it on his head. Meanwhile Lucas Podolski’s tweets have been a joy as usual, he is such an infectious character it would be mad to let him go this summer. Every good court needs its jester. I think Germany might go all the way, despite last night’s hiccup.

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In my work sweepstake I got France and they are also looking good. There was no Arsenal interest in their win against Honduras but Ollie Girooooooooöooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooöoooooooooo scored once and ran the length of the pitch to set up another as the French beat Switzerland 5-2. He looked happy and Kos got a game too, coming on for Sakho in the second half. Mind you it was a chastening experience for two ex-Gunners; Senderos and Djorou demonstrated the positional awareness and confidence on the ball that made them a partnership I liked to watch from behind the sofa.

Has anyone been watching Serge Aurier for the Cote d’Ivoire? The man is a BEAST and has an amazing beard. No idea if he can defend yet but he can certainly whip in a cross. And Sanchez for Chile? WOW. If I had a £100,000,000 I think I’d be spending some of it on him.

Finally, and taking my Arsenal hat off, I’ve been musing on the relative statuses of the teams involved in terms of national statistics. For example, if you take England’s group:

  • Costa Rica
  • Italy
  • Uruguay
  • England

By far the richest nation there is England: our GDP is around $2,500, billion and places us 6th in the world (behind the US, China, Japan, Germany and France). Italy are in 9th with $2,000 billion but you have to go to 75 to find Uruguay ($57 billion) and 80 to reach Costa Rica ($48,5 billion). The difference in wealth between us and the two Latin American countries and us is enormous.

The UK is ranked 22nd in the world for population (about 64m) while Italy has 61m. Costa Rica is tiny by comparison (4.6m) and Uruguay smaller with just 3.25m. Yet they produced Luis Suárez and we managed Jordan Henderson. Go figure.

The crucial figure though is one Tony has mentioned before: England have around 3,000 coaches working at grassroots football. Spain have 24,000, Germany 35,000 and Italy 29,500. I’ve no idea how many there are in Costa Rica or Uruguay but I’d hazard a guess its disproportionate with the UK.

I’m sad England are out but not at all surprised. Hopefully they can build a squad that has a chance of reaching the last four in the Euros. And one with several Arsenal players – fresh from winning the league (again) and captained by Sir Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!



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27 comments to The future for England is Oxlade-Chamberlain

  • nicky

    Whilst much of the World has overtaken us, football-wise, it will always be a disadvantage to hold a World Cup competition at the end of the EPL campaign (probably the most strength-sapping in the world).
    There might be a case for shortening the season of a WC year or at least have a winter break.

  • jambug


    Before we start tinkering with anything else, surely, getting the fundamentals of enough good coaches and enough pitches to play on, is the main priority.

    But even before that we have to get people to admit to the fact that that is the problem.

    Heads are still buried in the sand.

    Even this morning in The Mail, Patrick Collins, one of the more balanced columnist, follows a pretty decent summery of Englands Brazilian debacle with the same old tired, clichéd, conclusion that ‘until we address the number of Foreigners playing in the PL we will never have enough players for our National coach to select from’.

    No Patrick !

    Not until we have enough coaches, producing enough quality English players to replace the foreign stars, will our National coach have enough players to select from.

    Your solution will mean not only having a sub standard National side but a sub standard Premier league to boot.

    Great idea !!

  • blacksheep63

    the lack of a mid winter break doesn’t seem to have affected those PL imports (Ozil, Saurez, Dejagah…) who are playing for their countries Nicky

  • goonergerry

    I am a lifelong Arsenal fan but I am also an Englishman. What is clear is that the England football team’s performances are a national disgrace.

    The TV pundits criticising them are former players who did not do appreciably better themselves- They don’t possess the answers.

    The lessons need to come from learning how others have consistently produced successful international sides- Germany, Italy, Brazil for example.

    Why are our players so lacking in self-belief that a team as limited as Australia’s can so outperform England?

    Why are our best players obviously lacking technical skills? Why are our teams consistently lacking tactical know how? Despite changing coaches, 4 years after being humiliated by Germany, the England team still can’t defend competently.

    Leaving Woy in charge for the next few years is like leaving a First World War General to still be in charge of the British Army in the 21st Century.
    When looking at solutions we know that those in the FA who run the game cannot see further than their inherent xenophobia to further restrict the number of foreign players playing in the EPL. That might result in more English players playing but it will not result in higher performing English players. They will also reduce the standard of the EPL.

    What needs to happen is a root and branch Government led reform of the administration and coaching of English football, the values of the game- from school to elite players need to be re-fuocused to emphasise technical and tactical excellence to replace the current over-emphasis on aggression, power and strength. The game in England needs to be restructured to ensure that far fewer meaningless games are played by elite players.The referees and coaching structures also need parallel fundamental reform.

    Referees have far too much influence on how the game is played in England- and we have seen the result of their emphasis on traditional English football values.

    I agree that investment in coaching- far more training and accreditation to a higher standard- far more- at a much higher standard is needed.

  • nicky

    Points taken but something drastic is needed to stop our steady decline into freefall.
    I watch England now, on TV, with no feeling of optimism (just the opposite)and mainly to follow the performance of any Arsenal players in the team.
    The two recent games exposed men tired, without real cohesion and bereft of ideas in order to succeed.
    And the trouble is that the future doesn’t look that bright either.

  • jambug


    I understand your frustration, but I feel it’s that frustration that leads you to the idea of what seems a much simpler, quicker fix, but I’m afraid you cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

    Until the kids are coming through all other solutions are pretty much superfluous.

    As for tired. Well both the Germans and Ghana looked exhausted but still served up a great game full of quality, as well as a few mistakes.

  • franck.

    I am a nigerian and i have been following english football for quite sometime now.what i have come to conclude is that the english coaches(national team) rely a great deal on the media’s opinion of players to make their selection.i can recall the earlier days of capello,he played david bently as his winger and he was a joy to watch in an england shirt then,but bently had a problem,he wasnt playing for any of the big epl teams,d media turned on him and capello stopped playin him,how on earth would u justify playin rooney or even wellbeck on the wings when there are many english wingers in d epl who would do a better job down d wings.when i compare the english team from the turn of the millenium to that of euro 96,none of the present english squad would make dat 96 squad,english football is regressing not because of the foreign players but because the english league has become very rutheless to managers,more and more managers are more keen to buy a developed player than to bother developing players.much respect should be given to clubs like southampton dat are still bringing out talented english players,but what england lacks is the intelligent attacking central midfielder,they have the gerrads,the lampards,the scholes over the years,but never had the likes of santi cazorla,zizou,even cesc fabregas at some point,xavis,modric,all very intelligent midfield players.the last i have seen in an england shirt dat comes close is paul gascoigne.i want to believe there are very intelligent midfield players in england,the english media just needs to let the coaches do their job and not try to do their jobs for them.also the coaches should do their job and ignore the media opinion.

  • finsbury

    Chamberlain may be the future but it was an inexplicable decision to not include Gibbs in the current England squad.
    Southampton’s Clyne (also a good prospect, possibly should’ve been in the squad alongside Gibbs…) gave Baines serious problems towards the end of the season, an example of what we all knew would probably happen in the WC. Whilst Gibbs coming off against Munich was a arguably the turning point in that game (and not the missed penalty). I’m not complaining, the Arsenal player will start the season fresh, and hopefully focused as was Walcott when he was unbelievably dropped for the already retired SWP (he was hopeless by that stage) and other players who have never impressed.

    It’s the silence by the plunditry upon this omission that is the most revealing for the rest of us.

    North-West England: LOL!

  • finsbury

    Perhaps Gibbs was being punished for looking nothing like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? And that is why he was not selected? There has to be a reason, because the “footballing” reasons do not add up.

    I guess it was not possible to have a player in the England squad that the unimpeachable referees would confuse with another player in the squad on the mistaken advise of a even dodgier fourth official? These Arsenal players, they all look the same…

  • oldgroover

    According to Harry Redknapp (yes him) some players don’t even want to play for England. Contrast this with the ones (from other nations) we’ve seen this last week singing their national anthems loudly, crying when they score and generally showing a proper national pride. It’s not just the under 21’s side they don’t like, it’s the whole “England international footballer” they’re not interested in.

  • bjtgooner

    I agree with the UA led viewpoint that the shortage of coaches is a major restriction in the development of young players. However, increasing the number of coaches is not itself sufficient to rectify the situation – coaches must be adequately trained and kept up to date. Is the organization in place to oversee this?

    Further, there is no point in developing young players, bringing them into club sides and then having hells bells kicked out of them because the refs don’t do their job. So basically the administration of the whole game in England needs removed from the hands of those who have allowed it to degenerate into mediocrity.

    The self important media are also largely to blame for the present situation – they support the administrative status quo, the unsatisfactory refereeing and the perception of the superiority of the “English game” i.e. route 1 up the field, the first foul is free so make it a “good” one, team “X” don’t like it up them so keep it in their faces etc. None of this generates the skills necessary to be world beaters in this day and age.

    What it does do is give a false impression of the abilities of average players, making them look better than they are because the environment in which they perform does not compare with the world stage.

  • Oliver

    The Ox shines for England, even more than he does for Arsenal, perhaps because he is given a slightly different role. He has great power and pace, things which are supposed to be strengths of the English game.

    Hopefully he’ll get a run-out against Costa Rica.
    England were woeful against Uruguay, at least we showed some promise against Italy but then it was like watching England again.

    Most English players do not seem confident on the ball, now I don’t expect everyone to be Pirlo but.. still.

  • jambug


    Well put.

    As I said yesterday, the media just cannot disguise there smug glee at seeing the ‘tiki taki’ Spanish unceremoniously dumped out of the World Cup.

    The media, who for all intense and purposes run our game, are so entrenched in there hatred of artistic football, in preference for ‘up and at ’em thugery, that we haven’t got a chance of seeing any change any time soon.

    In fact it will be the complete opposite, as the media continue in the attempts to shift the entire blame for all Englands woes on to those very same artisans from around the World that most of us on here admire so much.

  • bjtgooner


    You are right about the media attitude re the demise of Spain & the “tiki taki” style.

    My view of what Spain has lost is the ability to suddenly switch from a harmless looking “tiki taki” movement to a sudden dangerous attack, either through a canny move or quick change of tempo. I am not quite sure why this is – maybe attitude, change of personnel or the team just getting a little too old.

  • AL

    Yes, The Ox will definitely give tired England a lift. For selfish reasons, which the player himself might not agree with, I’d rather he doesn’t play. We can’t afford to have players out injured playing for country in meaningless matches…

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, Gerrard shouldve been nowhere near the England team. The guy was good in his day but he’s well over his peak. No wonder any side he features for these days will almost always, somehow, contrive to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • jambug


    Roy’s begging him to stay for the Euros if you can believe that.

    Now to me this just says one of 2 things.

    1) He’s yet again pandering to the media.

    2) He’s an even more archaic coach than I thought and he still actually believes Gerrard has something to offer.

    Personally I think it’s A. Either way it is pathetic and very very worrying from an England perspective

  • AL

    Yes jambug, had to laugh when I heard that. I think it’s A too.

  • AL

    Talking with a colleague on the night of elimination, we both agreed for England to change from perennial failures to contenders at the WC,Euros,etc…,they need to get a manager like Maradona who’ll be more than ready to stick two fingers at the media at every opportunity. Ability to coach will come in as secondary to the ability to put the media in their place.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Surely what nicky said has merit. It is not the whole answer but it could help. Please note that the majority of the German team did get a winter break or play in slower paced leagues and 8 fresh players can make the 2 tired players look fresh.(also Ozil was injured and thus got a long break). That said, England does not have enough technical players particularly in the midfield and does have a paucity of coaches to produce them and thus has a lot of huff and puff players.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    As for Roy…imagine the frustration of a manager used to managing technical players burdened with the English side…oh wait that’s already happened…might as well stick with Roy, he’s used to trying to make stone soup.

  • AL

    Clearly the media will never learn that only the manager has the duty to ‘pick’ the England team. This journo has already picked the team for the 2018 world cup;

  • Gord

    In Canada, we have 2 branches of post secondary education: university and technical school. University program is typically 4 year, technical school is typically 2 year. Both have national athletics programs.

    Does England have both? How are they interfacing with the needs for coaching?

  • Oliver

    On Gerrard, I still think he’s a player of quality, albeit no the one he was. I think his role was a too restricted for England. Hard to know whether that’s his fault or he was doing as told

  • Baratonian

    When England played Honduras, the pundits described Honduras’ style of play as thuggery. Yet this same media support Tony Pullis, ‘Alladichi’ and Mark Hughes in stoneage agricultural football against Arsenal.

  • Nelson Wong

    In the first German match against Portugal, aren’t they doing something like Arsene? No top striker, floating front three. Ozil was deadly there. He was playing both right and left and Portugal clearly do not know what to do with this sort of tactic.

    I read somewhere that Germany have been doing badly for their second game in World Cup for quite a while. They failed to win but one in the last 5 or 6 of those. So nothing to worry about. Interestingly, they win with huge margin in most of their opening games at the same period of time.

    France is doing very well due to a supreme team spirit. Wenger has a very good network in France. May be he will bring in some brilliant players later on.

  • Johnf323

    Merely a smiling visitor here to share the adore , btw outstanding style. Audacity, more audacity and always audacity. by Georges Jacques Danton. fgebbbdbgddk

  • Aresenalbabe

    Lifelong Gooner totally agree with all as to why Gibbs not selected, StevieG was right choice but must now be allowed to finish England career. Jenks, Theo, Jack, Alex linked to Raheem, Daniel & Stones & Shaw must be the foundation for the future England team. But please note how technically gifted & comfortable Brazil, Messi & co,Costa’s, French & Dutch – all very good on the ball but also knew all the words to their national anthems!! Let’s hope Loony Luis is als banned from club games too as that is really only way he will learn & also have to do 1000 community hours in an Adults with Learning Needs care home. Hope we buy Oringi & Uraguy’s right back Periera plus Sanchez, is Pogba new Pat Viera or will Abou finally fulfill that legacy. My side bet on France or Holland is still looking good. Arsenal Forever & let’s hope we do win PL next season