Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes his move to Arsenal has given him more confidence to compete for a place in the England under-21 set-up.
The Southampton Academy graduate made his debut for Stuart Pearce’s side against Italy in February, but has since concluded his first season in the Championship and sealed a move to the Premier League.
Speaking to TheFA.com, the young Gunner spoke of the mood in the under-21 camp ahead of Thursday evening’s crucial qualifier with Azerbaijan.
“It’s been really good and I’ve enjoyed the first few days of training,” said the Gunners’ summer acquisition.
“This time I feel a lot fitter and a lot more confident in myself, as last time I was getting back from an injury and I didn’t feel too confident in myself. This time I am starting to play near my best and I am really looking forward to the two games this week.
“Coming from Southampton, when I last came into the England set-up, it was a big step up.
“I wasn’t used to the big names that played in the Premier League, and being more involved and around it at Arsenal now, you realise it is a step-up. It’s all about applying yourself right and making better decisions more often, which is what these boys do.
“It is good for me being at Arsenal, I feel I have had to step my levels up and that has helped me with England.”
Chamberlain is joined in the England under-21 squad by Arsenal teammate Henri Lansbury who yesterday sealed a season-long loan move to West Ham United. Emmanuel Frimpong had also been called up by Stuart Pearce, but has since withdrawn with injury. Reports suggest that the 19-year-old enforcer wishes to play for his homeland Ghana despite representing England at youth level.