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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Will Reportedly Start for England Against France

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 02:  Guillaume Gillet of Belgium and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England battle for the ball during the international friendly match between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Michael DoyleContributor IIIJune 11, 2012

According to the Daily Mail,  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will start ahead of Stewart Downing on the left side of England's midfield against the French. 

Chamberlain did make his first international start for England against Belgium in the final friendly before the tournament, but was expected to only make the bench with Liverpool's Downing starting instead.

The move is a bold one, but the 18-year-old has had an impressive debut season at Arsenal considering his age, showing his potential and maturity on the wing. 

Should he start, this would mean that England would have a conservative player on the right of midfield in James Milner, but an out-and-out winger on the left side. 

This isn't as much of a risk as it may seem, as Ashley Cole should be able to control Samir Nasri without the need for any covering help from Chamberlain.

In any case, Milner and Chamberlain can switch sides depending on where the French are pressuring the defense, or indeed which French full-back will struggle most with Chamberlain's pace and creativity.

Oxlade-Chamberlain would've played against teammate Bacary Sagna had the full-back not sustained a broken leg during Arsenal's game with Norwich, ruling him out of the tournament.

Instead, he may come up against Lille's Mathieu Debuchy—an attacking full-back who may face problems when on the back foot against Chamberlain's pace. 

The decision shows intent on manager Roy Hodgson's part, who was expected to play a more disciplined and defensively minded team today.

However, Hodgson has shown boldness by making a move in his first competitive match. Hopefully Chamberlain can show maturity and the ability to cope under pressure to justify his manager's decision. 

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