Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was supposed to be a part of the 2018 World Cup with England.
In case you’ve been living under a footballing rock, you may have missed the 24-year-old’s horrific knee injury during Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal against A.S. Roma. This distressing 15th minute attempted challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov put an immediate end to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 2018 World Cup dreams.
It’s been a disappointing cap to an otherwise very positive 2017/18 season for the unpredicted new hero of Anfield, helping send Liverpool to the Champions League final.
Of course this is a huge blow for The Reds, with ‘The Ox’ scoring three Premier League goals and two in the Champions League. But he could make a great impression as a pundit in Russia, with his enthusiastic personality and current expertise on the England team and opponents.
“He has the highest quality in everything he does; sometimes I think he is the last to realise this.” – Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp certainly sees Oxlade-Chamberlain’s potential both on and off the pitch, as does the likes of BBC and ITV.
Two broadcasting companies are reportedly eyeing up the former Arsenal midfielder as a TV pundit for the World Cup, with ITV as favourites to win the battle, according to the Daily Mail. Although Oxlade-Chamberlain is yet to comment on this, he could be joining the punditry team full of ex-players, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Lee Dixon and Ian Wright – and I think he would make a great addition.
As a viewer of both channels, I see this as a positive move for the 24-year-old, as do many footballing fans.
What he offers
‘The Ox’ has previously impressed throughout his Premier League career when carrying out post-match interviews, analyzing and filming for his clubs’ fan base.
Take, for example, an interview from April in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth. He avoids the pitfalls of too many cliches and thoughtfully reviews his club’s performance.
His passion and bubbly personality will be an asset to any national broadcaster, offering a new insight for World Cup punditry with his knowledge on ‘the ins and the outs’ of the England dressing room.
His now-infamous post-match interview in December 2017, jumping to Philippe Coutinho’s rescue after facing what I shall call an “awkward question” shows a maturity and ability to take charge of a narrative, prime skills for someone looking to branch out into a role with the media.
Love this from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the weekend. Playing a great forward defensive to this question for Philippe Coutinho.
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) December 19, 2017
Oxlade-Chamberlain was rightly praised for his skill at navigating what could be a quagmire of a question, and it bodes well in terms of his forthrightness and self-assuredness — skills that quality pundits need. There’s a fine line between having an opinion — a la Richard Keys — and another when presenting it thoughtfully.
It wouldn’t be terribly surprising for the Liverpool star to turn down the bright lights of the studio for the harsher lights of the gym and physiotherapist’s office, but it would be a payoff for fans interested in hearing a qualified voice in the studio.