I know there are many Arsenal fans that don’t follow the fortunes of England team and would rather our players did not play thus summer at the Euros. I actually love seeing our lads pulling on the Three Lions and feel immensely proud when they do. After missing out on the 1974 and 1978 World Cup I vividly recall how chuffed I was when Rixy got the nod ahead to start against France in Spain in 1982. After the disappointment of the last World Cup I was genuinely looking forward 2 years to this June Euros anticipating a strong Arsenal contingent. At one point early in 2014/15 an Arsenal fan could have had a strong argument for suggesting that in the summer of 2016 there could have been 6 Gooners in the Euro squad. Now a free bet on the Euro’s could be that there will be only 1 Gunner firing for England in June.
Kieran Gibbs was and FA Cup winner and firmly the first choice left back at the Emirates having seemingly fought of the challenge of Nacho Monreal. He must have been confident that having had so many knock backs he could finally challenge the established Leighton Baines. 18 months down the lone he is out of the England reckoning and probably behind Luke Shaw, Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand. He has played only 381 minutes of Premier League football for Arsenal due to the brilliance of Montreal and virtually all the minuets have been as a substitute of the left of midfield. I would be stunned if Gibbs is not sold this window. He has conducted himself well and deserves to play but he will not be in France.
Theo Walcott suffered the heartbreak of missing out in Brazil due to his injury. He returned hesitantly but seemed to find his feet again when moved to the central role he craved at the end of last season. He should be looking forward to playing for his country as one of the senior statesmen of the squad like Rooney and Cahill but instead he will most likely be looking for a new club. He is a shadow of the play he was 4 years ago who was an assist machine for RVP and not only has he not progressed he has regressed. Wenger in my view is being exceedingly generous keeping him on the bench ahead of Joel Campbell. However he has only played 1342 minutes in the league. I genuinely believed the sky was the limited for Theo but now I actually want him sold and I am confident he will be.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when he scored that wonderful goal in the Maracanã in the summer of 2013 was another who seemingly had the world at his feet. He was played centrally for England on the day having been preferred to Walcott wide in the previous Euros. The lad has so much talent and he always gives me a buzz when he has the ball at his feet but every time he gets a run in the side and seems to be finding his Arsenal form he gets injured. Ox should now be delivering consistently for Arsenal and England but disappointingly that is not the case. I feel his natural game is curtailed by the way Wenger has Arsenal playing. I long to see him taking on the full back and whipping in crosses but our wide men are not encouraged to do so. He has only played 924 minutes for Arsenal in the league and his latest injury will cost him a place on the plane. Another who will be watching England from his sofa, whilst calling his agent asking him to find him a new challenge.
Calum Chambers in the autumn of 2014 was a regular starter for Arsenal and his club form had earned him a Hodgson call up. I think many, myself included thought that a Chambers and Stones partnership looked to be England’s future pairing. They may still be but Wenger seems to have lost faith in him and the purchase of Gabriel set his cause back further. He is a centre-back and not a right back and he needs to play there alongside a senior pro like Koscielny but I suspect the pressure on Wenger this summer will be so intense that an experienced defender will be brought in setting Chambers back further. The young former Saint has gone from being a regular starter at the beginning of last season to barely a bit part player this season. He has played only 312 minutes of Premier League football and is another who has had his international ambitions thwarted by Arsenal.
Jack Wilshere is undoubtedly firmly in The England Manager’s plans if he is fit and well. He stared 5 of the 10 qualifiers and was Man of the Match in four of the five. Hodgson plays a system when Wilshere is available that suits Jack but England have so often suffered by talking players who were not truly fit to major championships. Owen, Beckham and Rooney spring to mind but the current England coach is on record as saying he won’t make the same mistake. So far Jack has a few minutes of first team football under his belt and a manager who is under pressure and who can’t afford to make sentimental team selections for players hoping to go to France. Wilshere, Ox and Santi are all in the same boat. Whatever Wenger says in public I am certain he would prefer Wilshere to miss out and have a free summer and strong pre-season. However if he gets and more minutes in the next 2 league games I think because Hodgson gas lost Henderson he will select Jack. 50/50
The man who won the man of the match in the one game that Wilshere played that he did not get the accolade was Danny Welbeck when he scored twice in Slovenia. At that point if I recall correctly Danny was the top scorer in Euro qualifying taking advantage of Daniel Sturridge’s absence. Hodgson is very loyal to his players and Welbeck has consistently performed for him in and England shirt. Danny can play anywhere across the front line, left, right or centrally and has been in good scoring form for Arsenal since his remarkable return against Leicester. Welbeck is the only one of the 6 who is a certainty to be in France with his country in June and along with the returns of Rooney and Sturridge it is he that will end any lingering hope Walcott may have had I feel.
So Arsenal may have 1 or possibly 2 players pulling on the 3 Lions and I would not be surprised if only 3 of the 6 are pulling on the Cannon in August.
Thanks for reading @goonerdave66