Oxlade-Chamberlain relishes England return after injury woe - GulfToday

Oxlade-Chamberlain relishes England return after injury woe


From left: England’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire attend a training session in Burton-on-Trent on Friday. Reuters

London: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is relishing his return to the England squad after realising how much the national team mean to their fans during his injury lay-off.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed England’s last three appearances at major tournaments through injury, but he is finally fit and has been named in the squad for Saturday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria and next week’s clash against Kosovo. The Liverpool midfielder would dearly love to feature if England qualify for next year’s European Championships, because his time on the sidelines gave him a fresh perspective of how the nation lives and breathes Three Lions campaigns.

When Gareth Southgate’s team went to Russia for their run to the World Cup semi-finals last year, he was ruled out by a serious knee injury.

But Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t turn his back on the side and watched one of their matches against Belgium from a Boxpark bar in east London.

Attempting to go undercover in glasses and a hat, Oxlade-Chamberlain was quickly recognised but he embraced the moment and the fans’ passion.

“That was the first time I’ve ever watched a match with fans of my team, if that makes sense,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told reporters at England’s training base.

“I’m either always in the stadium or at home. I was shocked. I’ve never been to a pub where there’s a bunch of Liverpool fans or Arsenal fans and watched it with them, never been to a pub with England fans to see what it means to them and it was surreal.

“I could see my mates on the screen doing what I usually do and how everyone around them was reacting. I was almost idolising them as well. Just seeing what they were doing and what that created around me I was like, ‘Oh my God, do I really do that?’

Agence France-Presse

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