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Hodgson puts faith in Oxlade-Chamberlain
England boss Roy Hodgson is preparing to sling Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain "in at the deep end" to see if he can cut it at Euro 2012.
The 18-year-old was named in Hodgson's 23-man squad on Wednesday, despite only starting six Barclays Premier League games for Arsenal.
"It won't be easy for him to break into the team but the only way I'll find out is to sling him in at the deep end," he said. "Even if he doesn't swim now, he'll learn to swim in the future. I wouldn't have chosen him if I didn't think he was ready to start games."
It triggers memories of Theo Walcott being handed a spot at the 2006 World Cup by Sven-Goran Eriksson despite not playing a single game for the Gunners.
As it turned out, Walcott never made it onto the pitch in Germany but Hodgson is optimistic his experiment with Oxlade-Chamberlain will have a better outcome.
If Hodgson is taking a calculated gamble with Oxlade-Chamberlain, he has invested plenty of trust in Liverpool's Andy Carroll.
The suspension that rules star man Wayne Rooney out for the first two group games places more emphasis on the striking department and, by ignoring the claims of Peter Crouch and Darren Bent, Hodgson has made Liverpool's Carroll the only target man.
However, he did need to speak with then-Reds boss Kenny Dalglish first. "The conversation with Kenny put my mind to rest with regards to the criticism he's faced for extra-footballing activities," he said. "That was very important for me."
Hodgson confirmed that Michael Carrick had been overlooked because the Manchester United midfielder had expressed a desire to remain at home. That does not mean retirement, but with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Jack Rodwell set to be available for next season's World Cup qualifiers, it is difficult to see when Carrick's services could be required again.
Scott Parker remains a doubt, although Hodgson does expect the injection he had into an Achilles injury on Monday will allow him to take up his place.