Oh, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Everything was going so well. You were thriving in the central midfield role you had craved your whole career. You had found the perfect manager for your style of play and a system that allowed you to be a central cog, pressing aggressively and connecting the rest of the side with the front three. You were on your way to a Champions League final.
Then, bang, horrific knee injury likely to keep you out for the whole of this season.
Life isn’t fair.
Platitudes aside, Oxlade-Chamberlain seems surprisingly upbeat. Appearing as a pundit on Sky Sports for England’s UEFA Nations League defeat to Spain, the midfielder was impressively articulate, discussing the game well and offering a lot of knowledge of those he has played with in the past. He was also quite candid about his fitness situation.
“It is a very serious injury”, Oxlade-Chamberlain told Sky. “It can happen to any of us at any time and that’s obviously something that’s never easy to deal with and get over. I’m trying to stay positive, that’s the sort of character I am. I feel that’s the best way to move things forward.
“I’m in good spirits and I’m progressing for sure.”
Discussing having to miss the World Cup, the Liverpool man said it was “really difficult”, adding that “I had a realistic chance to be playing and definitely to be there, so that was obviously not easy.
“But at the same time I went into England fan mode. You can’t not get excited. As the games were going on and I was seeing a lot of my friends out there doing so well, it was great to see. I was so excited for them and I got fully into the spirit. I was gutted at the end when we got so close.”
It speaks to exactly the kind of great attitude everyone who has worked with him mentions that Oxlade-Chamberlain was happy to just support his international team mates over the summer. There are unfortunately no guarantees that he will return from this injury the same player. There can be no doubts, though, that his fitness problems in any way speak to his character and attitude.
Get well soon, Alex.