Cascarino delivers verdict on Arsenal 23-year-old, reveals weakness
By Will Butcher
Tony Cascarino believes Gareth Southgate is putting England in danger by playing Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle of the park.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23, started alongside Tottenham’s Eric Dier on Sunday in England’s 2018 World Cup qualifying 2-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley Stadium.
Cascarino told The Times’ website that the attack-minded star is better off playing out wide, as he is not defensively astute and that could endanger the Three Lions against better opposition.
“Oxlade-Chamberlain has received good reviews when he has played in a central position for his club but it is dangerous playing him in a similar role for England,” Cascarino said.
“He is a fine footballer but he is not the best defensively and at international level he makes the team vulnerable in the centre of the pitch.
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“He would be far better out wide, trying to play in a similar style to Raheem Sterling, as he is also a tricky player who can beat his man, which is just what this England team is in need of.”
Southgate masterminded a comfortable victory over European minnows Lithuania, with Jermain Defoe and Jamie Vardy finding the back of the net.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was tried in the centre of midfield, as Southgate left Jack Wilshere, Danny Drinkwater and Jordan Henderson out of his England squad to face Germany and Lithuania.
But the former Southampton star was unconvincing alongside Dier, despite moving to a central role for Arsene Wenger’s side in recent weeks.
The win sees England remain at the top of Group F, and are the only club in European qualifying not to have conceded a goal after five matches.
In other Arsenal news, John Hartson has called on Wenger to sign this 26-year-old goal machine.