ENGLAND forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes it is imperative the Three Lions exploit the ability of Jack Wilshere to conjure moments of inspiration after his Arsenal team-mate starred in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Scotland at Celtic Park.
Wilshere once again anchored a midfield diamond in Glasgow and provided the ammunition for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener with a pinpoint pass over a static Scotland defence, while also having a hand in England’s second from skipper Wayne Rooney.
With Wilshere seen as key to the mechanics of manager Roy Hodgson’s system, Oxlade-Chamberlain insists the 22-year-old possesses the key credentials to control games and dictate play from the deep-lying midfield position.
“As long as he can get on the ball as much as possible, it is good for him and good for the team because the more he is on the ball, the more magic that happens,” said Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“He is always capable of playing those long balls over the top, there is always a lot of quality form him in that respect, so as forwards we have to keep making the runs and I am sure he will keep finding us.”
Victory over Scotland represented England’s sixth consecutive win since finishing rock bottom of Group D during a disastrous summer in Brazil which ranked as their worst World Cup showing for more than half a century.
West Ham midfielder Stewart Downing was rewarded for his enterprising domestic form with a first international start for two-and-a-half years although was replaced at half time by Adam Lallana.
And despite not being present in South America, Downing is adamant England are rising from the ashes of that particular debacle.
“That’s the way to respond to the disappointment of the World Cup, to win and play well along the way. I think we have done that,” said Downing. “Roy has put together a good squad with a mixture of youth and experience.”