England manager Gareth Southgate is “delighted” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is “back on the right path” after injury denied him his place in the starting XI for the 2018 World Cup.
Ahead of the Euros qualifiers with Bulgaria and Kosovo, the Liverpool midfielder has been drafted into the international fold. It is the first time Oxlade-Chamberlain has been called up since March 2018 as a serious knee injury ruled him out for over a year.
Oxlade-Chamberlain denied key role for England? Five things to know…
- In 2017/18, Oxlade-Chamberlain often played as a box-to-box central midfielder.
- He assisted seven Premier League goals that season and scored a vital goal against Manchester City.
- Southgate says he was in line to start for England at the World Cup in Russia.
- However, a serious knee injury sustained in April’s UCL semi-final vs. Roma ruled him out for over a year.
- He has since recovered and is now trying to get back to his best form for Liverpool.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was tipped to start for England at the World Cup in Russia prior to his injury, having reinvented himself as a dynamic box-to-box midfielder.
It wasn’t to be, as injury shattered his hopes. But the former Arsenal and Southampton midfielder is now trying to rediscover his previous form. And while Southgate accepted the midfielder isn’t quite back to his best just yet, he has hinted at a starting role next month.
At the press conference of his announcement, he said: “I hope it will be a big moment. I think we are quite clear that he would have been in our starting team in the World Cup if he was fit.
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“He had such a great form and that cruel injury robbed him of that. I am delighted he is back on the right path.
“He is not quite back to his best standard but I thought he has been playing well and hopefully we can help him get back to speed. He also sees that we have faith in him.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool next play Burnley away in the Premier League before breaking up for international fixtures.