Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the 24-year-old midfielder from Arsenal, has not had a good start to his Liverpool career. Despite costing roughly the same as fellow winger and Liverpool new boy Mohamed Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain has only one start for Liverpool since the switch, a loss to Leicester City in the League Cup. He has had only five substitute appearances in the Premier League and Champions League, totalling a decidedly underwhelming 74 minutes in the two major competitions.
For most national team managers, a lack of playing time for club would preclude playing time (or even inclusion) for country. Gareth Southgate is not one of those managers.
Instead of getting bumped down the national team depth charts, Oxlade-Chamberlain is being rewarded with an inclusion in the starting XI in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia. According to reports, Southgate would only consider Oxlade-Chamberlain or Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard (who has had similar difficulties finding his way into United’s side) for the right wing, and therefore has decided to go with the Liverpool man. Well. OK.
The Three Lions could book their ticket to the 2018 World Cup tomorrow with a win or a Slovakia draw or loss.