Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of the more notable inclusions in Gareth Southgate’s first England squad.
The interim Three Lions boss has given the Arsenal midfielder another chance after a difficult year or so, in which injuries have wreaked havoc with his progress.
It’s still unclear what kind of future Oxlade-Chamberlain has at domestic level, as Arsene Wenger expected him to make more progress than he has done since his move from Southampton five years ago.
However, the 23-year-old is hugely grateful for the chance to reignite his international career after admitting he didn’t speak to Sam Allardyce once during the former England manager’s 67-day reign.
“It provided a kick up the backside,” he told Sky Sports, asked what it was like not to be involved under Allardyce.
“I have been playing for England since I was 18 and while I wouldn’t say I took it all for granted it just seemed to be a part of my season – to play for Arsenal and to play for England.
“I didn’t speak to Big Sam at all,” he added.
“I guess he had a lot to do what with it being his first game as England manager so I didn’t expect to get a call from him. I had hoped to be involved.”
England face Malta on Saturday at Wembley before a trip to Slovenia on Tuesday. Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping to make a big impression, and in many ways, the pressure’s off as so little will be expected from Southgate’s side.
The Arsenal man won’t be guaranteed a start, but if he can rediscover some of his best form, then not only Southgate, but Wenger too, will be keeping a close eye on him.