Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

‘He’s been left behind’; Keane takes aim at Liverpool star amid summer exit rumours

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool

Roy Keane feels the career of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not progressed since he joined Liverpool despite being a ‘quality’ player.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 28, moved to Anfield in the summer of 2017 after spending six years with Arsenal. Arsene Wenger took him to the Emirates from Southampton while he was still a teenager. Never one to be bothered about a player’s age, the French tactician liked what he had seen at Saints.

And the midfielder had already been capped by England by the time he arrived in north London. He made 198 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, scoring 20 goals.

But injury blighted his time in the capital. It has been a similar scenario on Merseyside.

Having enjoyed 42 outings during 2017-2018, a nasty knee injury kept him out of all but 19 minutes the following campaign.

The Portsmouth-born ace returned the following season and scored eight goals from 43 appearances. Injury struck again in 2020, with another four months on the sidelines with a knee problem.

Now fit again, Oxlade-Chamberlain has become a peripheral figure under Jurgen Klopp, with nine top-flight starts this term.

The German manager has constantly backed the man with 35 England caps. But Keane feels his fragile body means the ‘Ox’ is not the player he should be.

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“Injury problems. He is now, what 28? His career has stalled over the last years,” he said on ITV, per The Echo. “He has been left behind a little bit. But a quality player.”

Mixed messages over Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out of contract with the Reds in the summer of 2023. But Klopp recently denied that he was concerned.

“I think it is a completely normal situation,” he said. “It is about what makes sense for both sides in six or 18 months or whatever. But it is not important at all at the moment. In this moment what is important is how do you contribute when you play? That is the only thing.”

Those words contrast starkly with a report in January. During the Africa Cup of Nations, El Nacional suggested Klopp ‘could not rely’ on Oxlade-Chamberlain.

He was missing Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to the tournament and wanted more firepower. That came in the form of Luis Diaz, who arrived from Porto during the winter window.

Luis Diaz of Liverpool

The Colombian has been superb, with many feeling it may spell the end for the son of former England player Mark Chamberlain. And Klopp’s words that “we will not stay together for ever” have only added fuel to exit rumours.

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