Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is dreaming of Euro 2020 success having watched part of England’s march to the World Cup semi-final in a London bar.
The 26-year-old missed over a year of football after suffering a serious knee injury which prevented him from playing for the Three Lions in Russia last summer.
He was also absent for the Nations League semi-final and was forced to sit out Liverpool’s two successive Champions League final appearances.
Now, Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit and has been instantly recalled by England boss Gareth Southgate for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Southgate holds the midfielder in such high esteem that he admitted last week the former Arsenal man was in line to be in his starting line-up at the World Cup before his injury.
Despite sitting on the sidelines, Oxlade-Chamberlain has remained upbeat and is now targeting European Championships success next summer – with the final to take place at Wembley.
When asked if he was due a bit of luck at Euro 2020, he replied: “Yes, I think it’s written in the stars for me to score the winner!
“I don’t like to sit back right now and say that I was really unlucky to miss this particular tournament or that one.
“The timing was unlucky, but boys have injuries that stop them playing full stop. I have still had the opportunity to come back. I have just got to stop the timing of those injuries to give me the chance to get to the sort of level I can be.
“It is every boy’s dream. We have to respect what is in front of us and we can dream those dreams, but first of all we have got to beat Bulgaria and then Kosovo.
“There might be a bit more of an expectation going into the next tournament. But that is exciting for us and I think this squad has the confidence within it to cope with that.
“We would all sit here now saying that would be the dream come true, especially with a lot of it being at Wembley. It does not get much better than that.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain filled his time during his rehabilitation by visiting a number of hospitals and taking a keen interest in the business world.
That does not mean he turned away from football and revealed he went to Box Park in Shoreditch to cheer on England in their Group G defeat to Belgium.
“At home,” he replied when asked he where he watched the World Cup.
“All of it was at home, and one of the games at Box Park. That was interesting…that was an experience.
“I had a hat on and glasses, but yeah didn’t do me much good. I was shocked. That was the first time I’ve ever watched a football match with football fans, of my team, if that makes sense.
“I’ve never been to a pub where there’s a bunch of Liverpool fans or Arsenal fans and watched it with them, never been to a pub with England fans, or in a big place, to see what it means to them.
“It was like a surreal moment where I could see my mates on the screen doing what I usually do, and how everyone around them was reacting and what it meant to them. It was surreal. I was almost idolising them as well.
“Just seeing them do that and what it was creating around me, I was like ‘oh my God, that’s Raheem Sterling, look at what he’s done, do I really do that?’
Although he enjoyed a new way of watching, Oxlade-Chamberlain admits the progress made by England in his absence made it harder to swallow.
“It was special what it created, and I got to see that first-hand, in the environment, and it wasn’t what I expected.
“It was another moment where I realised “I’ve missed out on something big here, this is special”, seeing what it meant to people, people rushing in from work, their shirts on still, their ties, bringing their girlfriend who’s rushed in from the city as well…it was just mayhem and meant so much to everyone.
“I’d never seen that first hand, so it was really, really special and sort of a reminder of what it means to play for England and how special that is.
“I think the boys did themselves proud to create that environment where people have a bit more belief now, bit more of a connection going forward with this young set of players.
“So that’s something we’re all really, really excited for and we’ve got to make sure that we get there first, because that would be a bit of a party wouldn’t it.”
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