Monday 14 October 2019

Oxlade-Chamberlain's World Cup woe


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo. PA wire
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo. PA wire

Chris Bascombe

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is devastated his World Cup dream has been ended by knee ligament damage sustained during Liverpool's Champions League semi-final.

The midfielder spoke to England manager Gareth Southgate yesterday to deliver his heartbreaking news. It is not clear precisely how long the midfielder will be out, but it is long enough to end his season and chances of going to Russia.

Liverpool are yet to confirm if the damage is a cruciate knee injury - which would normally take around eight months to recover from - or a less serious setback enabling Oxlade-Chamberlain to return at the start of next season.

Oxlade-Chamberlain spoke of his disappointment, but said the events outside the stadium on Tuesday, which left a Liverpool fan in a critical condition having been attacked by Roma fans, gave him a sense of perspective.

"Absolutely devastated to have picked up this injury at such a crucial time in the season," the midfielder wrote on Instagram. "Gutted I won't be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England.

"But now it's all about supporting the boys and getting behind them. I know we have what it takes to do something special in this tournament. I'm going to give everything I have to make sure I'm back as quickly as possible.

"However, this all pales in comparison to how the family of the Liverpool fan badly hurt before last night's game must be feeling. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones. Thank you for all your kind words, messages and support. I'll see you soon."

A club statement offered no specific recovery time. "We can confirm Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 2017-18 season is over for both club and country," it said. "The extent of the injury means Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss the remainder of the campaign for Liverpool, as well as the World Cup finals in Russia."

It is a cruel blow for a player who has been rejuvenated since his move to Anfield from Arsenal last summer. Oxlade-Chamberlain will feel a sorrowful sense of deja vu as he was also injured on the eve of the last World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Having been named in Roy Hodgson's squad, he jarred his knee in one of the build-up games.

Southgate must now reconsider his options. Although he had left the Liverpool midfielder out earlier in the season, his recent form was such he was in line to be a starter in the England's reshaped line-up.

Jurgen Klopp's headache is more immediate. Emre Can is already absent with a bad back, and Adam Lallana is still recovering from his most recent hamstring strain. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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