Chambers names one Arsenal player who has helped most

Matt Stead

England Under-21 defender Calum Chambers is ready to return to Arsenal and fight for his future.

The 22-year-old centre-back, who spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, has shone for his country at Euro 2017.

Chambers has formed a fine partnership with Swansea’s Alfie Mawson as England have progressed to the semi-finals, where they will meet Germany in Tychy on Tuesday.

The Young Lions kept two clean sheets in three games as they won Group A and reached the last four for the first time since 2009.

The ex-Southampton youngster believes his time at Boro, despite their Premier League relegation, was invaluable and wants to make his mark at the Emirates Stadium when he returns from Poland.

Chambers said: “This season has been so important for me, playing games as a centre-back. The experience I have gained in that position just from playing is so valuable to me. I just feel it’s just pushed me on another level.

“I want to have a good tournament anyway and I’m focusing on here. If I have a good tournament it’s great and I’ll be going back to Arsenal for pre-season and doing the best I can and seeing what happens.

“It’s been a very good season for me. I gave absolutely everything to try to get results and keep Middlesbrough in the Premier League. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that and I was gutted.

“We have to see what happens. I’m an Arsenal player and I’ll be going back in for pre-season and concentrating on that but at the moment my focus is on England and beating Germany.”

And Chambers is plotting to do that by using advice from German World Cup winner and Arsenal team-mate Per Mertesacker.

He said: “The one player who has helped me a lot would be Per. Being in the same position, he was almost like my mentor for a couple of years. I have never seen a player so professional and dedicated.

“Every little thing he could do he did. There were times when he would be looking at me and saying ‘you could do this’ and that’s rubbed off.

“That’s helped me realise the little things you do, the tiny little one or two per cents, get you where you want to be.”

In case they need it, England have practised penalties, including winning a shoot-out 7-6 after a 3-0 friendly victory over Iceland earlier this month.

Chambers, who has a 100 per cent record, scored from the spot at St George’s Park and will step up if needed on Tuesday.

He said: “If it comes to it, yeah. If I have to, absolutely. We had a practice penalty shootout against Iceland. I took one then and scored.

“I haven’t taken a penalty at senior level but I took one in the FA Youth Cup against Bradford, away. I scored that one, too.

“It is a massive game. All the games, I remember watching with family and friends at school. It is just a big occasion.

“Obviously we want to win. We were all watching the game when the news came through, it was like ‘yes, we’re playing Germany, this is it. Give it everything we’ve got’.”