Updates from Wednesday, May 21
The signs look good for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his fight to recover from a groin problem ahead of the World Cup.
Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set to be given the World Cup green light – and add to Roy Hodgson’s positive mood, writes Martin Lipton in Vale do Lobo.
Arsenal flier Oxlade-Chamberlain, who missed the last month of the season with a groin injury, has stepped up his recovery programme since England arrived here at their base camp in Portugal on Monday to begin preparations for the tournament.
The London Evening Standard's James Olley tweeted the following, both from Wednesday's training session and Roy Hodgson's press conference:
Updates from Monday, May 19
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit for the World Cup, according to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
He was desperate to play (in the cup final). Pain-wise he could have played. I judged him short physically. I felt that in this game we wanted to play players who were completely fit and prepared. He was a bit short physically.
The medics said to me he could play 20 or 30 minutes but you can’t programme it like that. That’s why I left him out. He’s on the way up but he needs more fitness work now.
But he’s okay for England, yes. It was hard to leave him out. Alex and Jack Wilshere will both go to Portugal.
Arsene Wenger heads into Saturday's FA Cup final against Hull City knowing that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a doubt for the showpiece fixture as he continues his recovery from a groin injury.
The Gunners' official Twitter account confirms the midfielder is yet to return to full fitness, along with Thomas Vermaelen, who has made just seven Premier League starts for the club this term:
Despite his absence, Oxlade-Chamberlain was confirmed as one of the 23 players who will travel to Brazil as part of England's World Cup squad this summer.
The Mirror's John Cross confirmed on Wednesday that the youngster was back in training with the first-team squad:
The 20-year-old hasn't played for Arsenal since late April, but Wenger will need every weapon at his disposal in order to ensure his side live up to their favourites tag and finally end their infamous nine-year silverware drought.
However, Oxlade-Chamberlain's involvement may warrant a different response from England fans and indeed Hodgson, who will want to ensure that any premature return doesn't result in aggravation of the injury.
Ironically, the attacker's last outing for Arsenal came in a 3-0 league win over the Tigers back on April 20.
Last week, Wenger voiced his hopes to see Oxlade-Chamberlain play a part in the FA Cup final—and the World Cup—per Press Association Sport (h/t ESPN FC), ahead of the club's league campaign closer against Norwich City:
If he gets over the next three or four days, he will be available. If he doesn't, then we have to rest him and see. The next three or four days will be vital for him.
He is desperate to go, and who wouldn't be? But we are in a job where your body responds or it doesn't respond. If it doesn't respond... the body is always stronger. In the end, you need your body to play football. He can only go to the World Cup if he is completely fit. It wouldn't be helpful for England for him to go there and not be 100 percent fit.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's club and international teammate Jack Wilshere has also been named in Hodgson's World Cup group and will be hoping to have some impact on Arsenal's FA Cup hopes this weekend, if not as part of the starting XI.
However, Wilshere will know better than most what it feels like to suffer setback after setback when recovering from injury, and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be cautious not to suffer the same fate with such an important couple of months ahead.