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Ex-Saint aims to make Euro impact
4:17pm Monday 4th June 2012 in International
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes he can make an impact for England at Euro 2012 after reflecting on a "whirlwind" rise in fortunes during the last 12 months.
The ex-Saints academy starlet made his full England debut during the 1-0 win over Belgium at Wembley in the final warm-up international before the team fly out to their tournament base in Krakow, Poland.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on as a substitute against Norway on May 26, said: "I think the way to describe the last 12 months is that it has been a bit of a whirlwind.
"I can remember playing for Southampton last year at Dagenham and Redbridge on a cold Tuesday night.
"I'm grateful for those experiences because, when you come from that and working hard in those environments, it makes you strive to come and play at places like this and play for your country.
"It has been a mad 12 months and I've enjoyed every minute of it and it has gone so quickly.
"Everything I've learnt in that time I hope will push me on for the start of next season, because that's going to be a massive season for me with Arsenal and my international career going forward."
Oxlade-Chamberlain is unlikely to start England's opening Euro 2012 game against France on Monday week but is confident in his ability to perform if given the opportunity by head coach Roy Hodgson.
He said: "It's nice to get the first (start) out of the way. It's a start in my England career, the first of many I hope. It was a really good experience for myself and I enjoyed every minute.
"It was a bit of a shock when the manager told me but I've got to remember I was one of the initial players put in the squad so I've got to be able to step up and perform when the manager wants me to.
"You have to think 'this is what I'm here to do, and this is what I want to do' so I was delighted to get the call to play and obviously very excited.
"I wanted to try and prove something and at times I did. But I feel there is a lot more to come from me."
Asked if he could make an impact at Euro 2012, Oxlade-Chamberlain added: "Definitely. If you don't think that, then you are not going to go far.
"If you don't believe in yourself, I don't think anyone else will.
"To get the call to come into the England squad, you've got to believe the manager has faith in you to do that and I believe in myself.
"But (it's) one step at a time for me. I keep learning every day in training off great players that are with me and, if I get a chance again, I'll do everything I can to impress.
"It's about stepping up on the biggest occasions and playing in games for your country at Wembley. You've just got to take it in your stride and I think I did.
"It is just the start for me and I can't get carried away. I've got a long, long way to go and I've got to keep working hard and try and make my future bright."
Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he has quickly adapted to training with players who were his childhood heroes.
He said: "If you don't believe you should be there, you are going to struggle. At first it is a bit daunting going into train and play with my heroes growing up.
"But you soon realise they are human beings and you are all there to do the same job and they are all top lads, really friendly boys, and we are all there to play football for our country."
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