• Euro 2012

Oxlade to start against France

ESPN staff
June 11, 2012
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed for Arsenal last season © PA Photos

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will start for England against France on Monday ahead of Liverpool winger Stewart Downing.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18, started the second warm-up friendly with Belgium last Saturday and has done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up for England's tournament opener.

Roy Hodgson's other big decision sees Danny Welbeck lead the line for England with Ashley Young playing in behind, with Andy Carroll forced to settle for a place on the bench. Hodgson may be looking for Young and Oxlade-Chamberlain to rotate between the centre and on the wings, confusing the French defence.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had not made an international appearance before his selection in the initial Euro 2012 squad and now looks set to form part of Hodgson's first-choice side after a promising first season in the Premier League with Arsenal.

Having joined the Gunners from Southampton for £12 million last summer, he shot to prominence with a series of impressive displays at club level, as well as consecutive man of the match displays with the England Under-21 side.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had been tipped to play a role as an impact substitute, using his pace and strength to unsettle tired defences. Hodgson, though, has sprung a late surprise by including the lively midfielder from the start.

France, meanwhile, have selected a team that includes four players who ply their trade in the Premier League.

England team to face France: Hart; Johnson, Lescott, Terry, Cole; Milner, Parker, Gerrard (capt); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young; Welbeck.

France team: Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Evra; A Diarra; Cabaye, Malouda; Nasri, Benzema, Ribery.

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