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‘The Ox’ boosts 2014 World Cup claims with vital Arsenal double

| 03.02.2014

Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave a timely reminder of his precocious talent with both goals in the Gunners’ 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace and the Southampton Academy graduate screams value at 6/4 to make the England squad for the 2014 World Cup.

Three Lions chief Roy Hodgson gave ‘The Ox’ his senior international debut as a teenager two years ago, before taking him to Euro 2012, and the veteran coach will have been impressed by the Portsmouth native’s performance in just his third start of an injury-interrupted campaign.

Oxlade-Chamberlain fired home twice against the Eagles in the second-half, despite lining up in central midfield to cover for the injured Mathieu Flamini.

The 20-year-old, who normally plays on the wing, made two tackles, fired four shots on goal and touched the ball over 100 times in an all-action display for the north Londoners.

England look reasonably well stocked on the flanks, especially after Wilfried Zaha’s star turn in his first outing for Cardiff and Tom Ince’s loan move to Palace, but Oxlade-Chamberlain’s past tournament experience means he’s probably ahead of that pair in the pecking order for Brazil.

Furthermore, the Three Lions are struggling for numbers in the centre of the park, with captain Steven Gerrard and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard both utilised in deep-lying midfield roles during qualifying, despite their advancing years and obvious unsuitability for the position.

The Liverpool man will start alongside Michael Carrick in a 4-2-3-1 formation in England’s opening World Cup fixture against Italy, if they’re both fit, but Hodgson is likely to have few impact options on the bench for the role bar Lampard and Jack Wilshere, who succumbed to injury once again recently.

Despite his fitness problems Oxlade-Chamberlain has made 13 appearances under Hodgson, scoring three times to boot, and considering the 66-year-old is likely to value versatility in a tight 23-man squad, the 6/4 on offer about the Arsenal man getting on the plane rates a cracking wager.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune