Euro 2012: Oxlade-Chamberlain eclipsed in left-wing duel

Updated: 12 June 2012 00:41 IST

Despite moments of promise, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was narrowly outshone by rival left winger Franck Ribery on his competitive England debut in Monday's 1-1 draw with France at Euro 2012.

Euro 2012: Oxlade-Chamberlain eclipsed in left-wing duel
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Donestk:

Despite moments of promise, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was narrowly outshone by rival left winger Franck Ribery on his competitive England debut in Monday's 1-1 draw with France at Euro 2012.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18, was a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up and became the second-youngest player to represent England at a European Championship after Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004.

Rooney's performances in Portugal eight years ago announced his arrival as a major talent on the global scene, and although Arsenal's Oxlade-Chamberlain showed glimpses of his class, he found himself eclipsed by the resurgent Ribery.

The Bayern Munich winger has long been lambasted for failing to reproduce his club form in the blue shirt of his country, but he scored three goals in France's three warm-up matches and he was influential again at Donbass Arena.

In the first half, he was at the source of much of France's best football, slipping past Scott Parker on the right flank in the 13th minute and finding Yohan Cabaye, who could not get a shot away.

He headed the ball back across goal to set up Alou Diarra for a header that went narrowly wide in the 35th minute, and it was he who teed up Samir Nasri for France's 39th-minute equaliser.

Ribery has campaigned long and loud to be allowed to play on the left, but England's compactness in central areas obliged him to roam to the right flank and it proved fruitful territory.

Nevertheless, the 29-year-old was fortunate to escape censure for a robust challenge on Glen Johnson shortly before the hour that ought to have given England a free-kick in threatening territory.

He was also guilty, on occasion, of dwelling on the ball, and his influence diminished in the second half.

Making only his third England appearance, former Southampton player Oxlade-Chamberlain showed plenty of enterprise in the first period.

He sparked panic in the French defence by robbing Adil Rami of the ball in the third minute and then freed Ashley Young after neat footwork took him past two defenders, only for the flag to go up for offside.

Part of Hodgson's thinking in fielding the teenager may have been to keep marauding France right-back Mathieu Debuchy occupied, but the Lille man frequently ran in behind him and drew a foul from his marker in the 34th minute that earned Oxlade-Chamberlain a booking.

Having tackled Ribery just before the hour, the pitch ahead of him opened up for a surging run, but he left the ball behind him and in the 78th minute he was replaced by Jermain Defoe.

He may not keep his place for England's next outing, against Sweden on Friday in Kiev, but time, at least, is on his side.

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