Human ray of sunshine Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain has been missed on the pitch. Luckily, his production hasn’t been missed as Xherdan Shaqiri has done a terrific job at filling the role that would nominally be expected of AOC were he healthy. Still, for a player as popular in his first year and one with a lot of experience, there’s no doubt that the locker room likely misses his influence.
Thankfully, for fans, a lengthy and candid interview with the official site has just been shared. In the video, Chamberlain takes the time to reflect on his rehab and to thank the people who have been a massive support during this time.
It should be no surprise to Reds fans familiar with the industrious runs he provided last season, but AOC is raring to get back on the pitch. Speaking to the interviewer, he is hoping to make a few appearances before the end of the season, recognizing that he likely won’t necessarily be up to full-match fitness, but that it would benefit him mentally as he works through his rehab.
Much of the interview itself is rather candid, providing an intimate look at the inner machinations of a footballer taking on the difficult task of getting their body back to doing things they once took for granted. AOC himself spoke about how one usually has “more bad days than good days” during rehab. Because of that, he’s been grateful for the support of the fans and of teammates like youngster Rhian Brewster who is also going through a lengthy rehab process.
He also spoke openly about his gratitude towards Liverpool’s head physio, former Irish international Richie Partridge, who has been flexible in working with him. He noted that if there are days when, mentally, he’s just not in it, Partridge will sense that, ask Ox to take a breather and go home, and then return back to the training room the very next day. This tidbit on allowing for flexibility to accommodate the mentally exhausting task of rehabilitation is a very positive development because one could just as easily see trainers or clubhouse staff, especially in a hyper-masculine environment like football, want to push players beyond that mental exhaustion. It bodes well that team stuff seem to take into account and prioritize the mental state of their charges while assessing their physical health.
The only sad thing is that there is still no true timetable for AOC’s return. Again, it’s clear he’s raring at the bit to return to the field and he mentioned time and again how the support of the fans inspires him to return as soon as possible. Another example of how the YNWA spirit from the fanbase can truly help lift one of our own through a difficult time.