By Nick Ames in Kiev

Theo Walcott says that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s rise to international prominence can only help Arsenal when the Gunners return for the new season.

The young midfielder has already played twice at Euro 2012, starting the first match against France and putting in a lively late appearance from the bench in Friday’s win over Sweden.

“Alex has four caps now, and it’s great for his confidence and it will be great for Arsenal when we come back and play together - perfect!” said Walcott.

Oxlade-Chamberlain might have opened his England goalscoring account had Walcott’s late cross not been met by Steven Gerrard just before the Arsenal man was poised to convert it.

“I wouldn’t say Stevie took it off him,” said Walcott. “I think Stevie is such a great player he’s always going to be onto that. But it doesn’t matter about who scores or doesn’t - it’s about the team and the three points.”

Walcott scored England’s equaliser against the Swedes within minutes of coming on, wrong-footing Andreas Isaksson with a swerving effort from 25 yards. It was his first international goal since his hat-trick against Croatia nearly four years ago, and he admitted that it was a thrill to be back on target.

“I just thought ‘wow’!” he said.

“At first I thought it took a deflection to be honest, but I watched it back and it didn’t. It’s been a long time coming since my last goal for England – it was at a crucial time of the game as well and I think it shocked them.

“We showed what class we’ve got and we got the three points, which was massive for us.”

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17 Jun 2012