Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s family will stay away from Euro 2012
• Fear of racism also keeps Theo Walcott’s family at home
• ‘It needs to be addressed,’ says England’s Joleon Lescott
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s family will not travel to the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine due to their fear of being t he targets of racists. The 18‑year‑old Arsenal forward is the youngest member of Roy Hodgson’s England squad and his family’s decision follows that of Theo Walcott’s, his club-mate, who are not attending the tournament.
Joleon Lescott, the Manchester City defender, said: “It’s a shame for some members of the squad that their families feel they can’t go and it’s a situation that needs to be addressed.”
Lescott’s family will also not be at the championship, though this was a decision reached before the recent exposés of Ukrainian hooligans with racist tendencies. “It was quite alarming to see the reports about the situation out there, but even before the reports, my family weren’t going,” the defender said. “Maybe if I’m playing and we get to the final, my family will want to go out there, but my main concern is that they have a good summer and if they’re happy, I’m happy. And they’re happy staying at home.”
John Terry will deny a charge of racially abus ing Anton Ferdinand, nine days after the close of Euro 2012. The Chelsea captain is not with England after being granted extra rest following the Champions League final but Lescott denied there will be any tensions within the squad when Terry does join up, despite the allegation.
“I don’t think it will be any different because we were all in the squad for the Spain and Sweden games. I don’t think there’s going to be any animosity. We are all here for the same reason and that is to do well for England.” He said that although he is a friend of Rio Ferdinand, Anton’s brother, he would have no problem with Terry. “I’m a big fan of Rio and we’ve become good friends as well, but I was more focused on seeing my name in the England squad and I’m grateful that I was in.”
Asked if he had spoken to Rio Ferdinand, who was not selected by Hodgson for Euro 2012, Lescott said: “We spoke after the league. He texted me to say congratulations, which was nice of him becau se obviously we’d beaten them so closely. Rio is a person I look up to and also the way he plays. He is a great player and has been a great one for England. He is probably one of the players I looked at most growing up. It’s a shame he is not in the squad but it was the manager’s decision.”
James Milner, Lescott’s club colleague, conceded that Hodgson’s choice not to select Ferdinand was tough. “I’m pleased I don’t have to make that decision,” the midfielder said. “Rio’s been a great player and still is a great player. It’s a tough decision and Rio is one of a few who might’ve felt unlucky not to be in the squad. It’s never easy leaving players out. It can only be a good thing for the country if the manager has to leave players of Rio’s calibre out.”
Milner also admitted to his own frustrations at having last started a match on 8 April – Manchester City’s1-0 defeat at Arsenal. “You want to play as many games as you can and contribute as much as you can,” he sai d. “But I’ve played a lot of games and it was a great finish to the season with winning the title and being selected for England for the Euros.”
Milner added he did not worry whether he might miss out on Euro 2012. “It’s down to the manager to pick his team. The manager changes and he might have a completely new opinion on you, as opposed to the old one anyway,” he said. “As a player all I can do is work as hard as I can in training and play as well as I can when I get a chance. That’s in my control and worrying about whether the manager will pick won’t help. There’s not a lot you can do. It’s about the work you do in the gym and on the training field and on the pitch.” Read More