Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain insists he has no problem with England coach Gary Neville’s recent criticism of the Gunners.
Neville combines a role in Roy Hodgson’s backroom staff with his punditry work for Sky Sports, and some observers have suggested his honesty on TV could cause a problem in the Three Lions camp.
Former Manchester United defender Neville recently labelled Arsene Wenger’s approach in the transfer market as “arrogant or naive”, but Oxlade-Chamberlain takes no issue with the comments and says he would have no problem accepting criticism from Neville as “he knows what he’s talking about”.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “He’s brilliant the way he explains things and I think he is very respectful when he says what teams need to do better and what players need to do better in a game.
“It’s credit to him because, obviously, it could be a tricky situation where he’s talking about our games on TV and then he comes to work with England. But he seems to manage to do it without any of us holding a grudge against him. He hasn’t upset me yet!
“I’ve recorded games before because I quite like to hear what Gary has to say. I do believe he knows what he’s talking about. If I’ve had a bad game, I know I’ve had a bad game and I don’t mind hearing it. I’ve had 15 years of hearing it from my dad! I’m the first one to have a go at myself and then it’s my dad, so if Gary wants to join in, then it’s fine.”
Wenger stood his ground in the wake of Neville’s criticism, but Oxlade-Chamberlain says it is not his role to act as a mediator between his club manager and international coach.
“I don’t need to act as a peacemaker, ” he added.
“I have heard that our manager addressed what he said and I’m sure he addressed it in a very good way, but they are two people I highly respect and the only interaction I will have with Gary this week is about England and how we are going to beat San Marino and Switzerland, and what runs I need to make at the full backs. That’s all I’m concerned about.”
Neville is known for his forthright approach and was recently caught on camera pulling Jack Wilshere’s headphones out of his ears on the pitch at Celtic Park prior to England’s meeting with Scotland, instructing the midfielder to soak up the atmosphere instead.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “He can do those things to us and we respect it, but at the same time we might also say ‘no, I’m putting them back in. That’s not for me Gaz’!”
“He knows how to treat the lads and fits right into our group, almost as one of the boys but also as someone we look up to and respect. We listen to what he’s got to say.”