Arsenal: Why Arsenal's Young Gunners Are England's Future Creative Hub

Max TowleAnalyst ISeptember 8, 2012

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA - SEPTEMBER 07: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain  of England in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Moldova and England at Zimbru Stadium on September 7, 2012 in Chisinau, Moldova.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Watching Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain run rings around the poor Moldovan defence must have been a marvelous sight for Arsenal fans.

The youngster is key to England's hopes at Brazil 2014, without a doubt.

He provides the kind of creative flair that is football's equivalence to poetry. Capable of twisting and turning the opposition inside out, either on the flanks or down the middle—he is the new breed of player that his nation as been so sorely lacking at past tournaments.

He may not have scored in Friday's World Cup qualifier, but he certainly showed how quickly he's improving, even eclipsing that of the returning goalscorer Frank Lampard with his performance.

Despite Manchester United's Tom Cleverley impressing in the hole, it seemed that the match was more about the Ox—an exhibition to showcase possibly England's finest.

But along with Cleverley, his style and versatility are essential to England's frantic attempt to catch up with the more continental 4-2-3-1 way of playing.

Perhaps it has been Roy Hodgson's faith in this formation that has been the biggest positive of his managerial stint so far.

The England boss' teams in the past may not have dominated possession, but have shown an efficiency in creating opportunities at key moments in matches.

With Cleverley playing the trequartista role, this characteristic is in good hands.

But let us not all of a sudden forget about Arsenal's Jack Wilshere.

It would take a pessimist, rather than a realist, to suggest that Wilshere's injury struggles will dog him for a long time to come.

I would rather keep faith in the suggestion that he'll be back in full training for Arsenal in October—to play an important role in England's World Cup qualification campaign.

It has long been a given that he and Cleverley are to form the midfield partnership with the best chance of ending 48 years of hurt in Rio.

With a defensive-minded player behind them, the kind of quick, slick passing that every England fan dreams of seeing the team's midfield play, may just become possible.

But what of Theo Walcott? England's mercurial enigma.

There are even Gunners fans who are quick to criticise the winger—those who blast him for his lack of consistency, occasionally his effort and his supposed poor temperament.

But on England's right flank, I would argue there is no better option.

Swansea City's Nathan Dyer looks a fine prospect, but perhaps wont be ready for 2014. Aaron Lennon on the other hand is even less reliable than Walcott, if that's possible.

But focusing on the positives for one moment—Is there a more dangerous player in the England set-up than Theo?

With him on the ball, defenders are forced to think twice, petrified of the possibilities that a player of his blinding pace has in his locker.

And with Hodgson's style of football, Walcott can thrive in the counter-attacking game—afforded the kind of space he can only dream of at Arsenal.

James Milner may be the steady option, but if you want to win a World Cup, he is not the kind of player to help get you there.

Because that's what it's about, that's what it has to be about—winning the big one.

England can't keep relying on Gerrard or Lampard to run their creative hub anymore—that much has been evident since 2007.

You can say all you want about the youth movement, and how much of a "risk" it would be to push them too quickly, but in truth, the bigger risk is relying on the old guard to do the job—a job they've never been able to do before.

The future has to be placed in the hands of youngsters like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cleverley and Wilshere, and even Walcott—players with the potential to catch up with the nations that have left England in the rear-view mirror in the past decade.

And if they fail? At least they tried.


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