Arsene Wenger says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s chances of featuring in the FA Cup final hang in the balance with the player set to undergo tests on his troublesome groin in the next couple of days.
The 20-year-old midfielder last featured for the Gunners as a substitute in the 3-0 win at Hull City but hasn’t been able to shake off a problem that has also cast a shadow on his inclusion in England’s World Cup squad.
“If he gets over the next three or four days, he will be available. If he doesn’t, then we have to rest him and see. The next three or four days will be vital for him,” Wenger told press yesterday.
With Roy Hodgson set to announce his provisional squad for the World Cup on Monday, the boss warned that his young charge shouldn’t be risked if he’s not in a fit state to perform to his strengths.
“He is desperate to go [to Brazil], and who wouldn’t be? But we are in a job where your body responds or it doesn’t respond.
“If it doesn’t respond… the body is always stronger. In the end, you need your body to play football.
“He can only go to the World Cup if he is completely fit. It wouldn’t be helpful for England for him to go there and not be 100% fit.”
It’s been a frustrating season for the Ox, who having missed four months of the season with a knee problem, came back strongly in January, February and March only for this latest setback to again stunt his progress.
Given the pitfalls of coming back too soon it looks as though he should now focus on being ready for England’s training camp in Miami in a few weeks rather than the FA Cup final. From an Arsenal point of view we should have enough quality to cover his absence.
That’s not Arseblog News promoting international duty above domestic responsibilities, we just think the Ox – should he be picked by Hodgson – deserves a bit of luck after a bad year and could well use the World Cup as a building block for next year.