Ox - Roy has strong opinions
England teenager credits manager for quarter-final progress
Last Updated: June 24, 2012 1:14pm
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Youngster impressed by England manager Roy Hodgson
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed Roy Hodgson has a steely side to his personality, despite bringing a more relaxed atmosphere to the England camp.
The Three Lions come up against Italy on Sunday night in their Euro 2012 quarter-final after progressing from Group D as winners following a draw with France and victories over Sweden and Ukraine.
With Hodgson only taking charge shortly before the tournament following Fabio Capello's resignation earlier this year, low expectations dropped further after a number of injury problems ruled out Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill.
But hopes are now rising again ahead of the last eight meeting with Italy and Oxlade-Chamberlain believes much of the credit for their progress should be bestowed on the manager.
"He keeps a relaxed feel about it and he doesn't put too much pressure on us players," the teenage Arsenal midfielder said. "He lets you go out and express yourself as well.
"I think the fact that there is such a relaxed vibe around the camp when it's time to relax does help, but when it comes to football you do focus.
"That's when he puts his strong opinions across to you. I do think the boys have really taken to him. He's not just a great coach but also a good man. He's very approachable.
"In my time working with him I have been really impressed. I have really enjoyed working with him, and that goes for all the rest of the players as well."
Oxlade-Chamberlain was a surprise inclusion in Hodgson's initial 23-man party and was then given the nod to make his full international debut in the opening Group D game with France.
The youngster was back on the bench against Sweden and Ukraine, but remains an important part of Hodgson's armoury with his pace and direct running.
"I feel settled in now. I get on well with the lads; they're a great bunch. I'm really enjoying my time here and have made some great friends already," he added.
"I knew some of the lads from the Under-21s, but the senior boys have been really good to me, just like they are to each other.
"If I'm honest, it's still a bit surreal to me but the football is coming thick and fast at the moment so you don't have too much time to think about it. You just train and then get ready for the next game. When you get the chance to play you just have to make sure you are ready.
"We've had three tough challenges and come through them. We're a hard team to beat and we have the quality to do damage to defences as well."