England news

Oxlade-Chamberlain to start

Arsenal youngster tipped for starting XI

ESPN staff

custom caption© PA

Strong reports are emerging from Ukraine that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will start for England against France on Monday evening, in place of Liverpool winger Stewart Downing.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18, took part in England's second warm-up friendly with Belgium last Saturday and has done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up for the tournament opener.

The Arsenal youngster had not made an international appearance before his selection in the initial Euro 2012 squad and now looks set to form part of Roy Hodgson's first choice side for the tournament ahead.

Having joined the Gunners from Southampton for £12 million last summer, he shot to prominence in the second half of the Premier League season with a series of impressive displays at club level, as well as consecutive man of the match displays with the England U21 side.

With two caps now to his name, Oxlade-Chamberlain had been tipped to play an important role for England at the European Championship as an impact substitute, using his pace and strength to unsettle tired defences. Hodgson, though, has sprung a late surprise by including the lively midfielder from the start, with out of form Liverpool winger Stewart Downing the player to miss out.

Other than Oxlade-Chamberlain, there are no other surprises for England ahead of the big match. James Milner looks set to retain his position on the right of midfield, providing protection to full-back Glen Johnson, whilst Ashley Young will support Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck in attack.

Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard will pair up in midfield, whilst Johnson, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Joleon Lescott will form the defensive line, with Joe Hart in goal. The match is Hodgson's first competitive fixture as England manager.


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