Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Responds to Thierry Henry and Gary Neville Criticism

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2018

Liverpool's English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (L) celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Liverpool's English midfielder Trent Alexander-Arnold (C) and Liverpool's English striker Dominic Solanke (R) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes he's silenced early season critics with his performances since moving from Arsenal.

As Chris Burton of Goal noted, following the England international's switch from Arsenal to the Reds last summer, Gunners legend Thierry Henry said "I still don't know what he's good at." Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said the north London club had got a "great deal" in securing £35 million for the player.

However, Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed a new lease of life under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. And while he admitted there are improvements to make in his game, the midfielder said the pundits' comments were a little harsh.

"When you have watched someone long enough, you know what they can do," the Liverpool man said, per Burton. "If it was aimed more at the end-product side of things and doing those things that lead to scoring a goal or setting up a goal, then fair enough. I will take those comments on the chin. Saying you don't know what I do, when you have worked with me, I think is a bit stupid."

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool shakes hands with Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool as he is subbed during the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on February 11, 2018 in So
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to be in a comfort zone at Arsenal, having arrived at the Emirates Stadium in 2011 from Southampton as a 17-year-old with a big reputation.

However, through a combination of injury issues, inconsistent form and no set position, he never quite lived up to expectations in north London. In the summer, with under a year remaining on his Arsenal contract, it made sense for the player to embark on a fresh challenge.

It's worked out well for Oxlade-Chamberlain. While he's not a key man at Liverpool, Klopp has handed him a defined role, and he is playing a style of football better suited to his attributes.

Per statistician Andrew Beasley, the 24-year-old is making more contributions in the final third, too:

For Liverpool, he's a handy player to have in the squad. Oxlade-Chamberlain can fulfil a number of different roles to great effect.

The exciting thing for Reds supporters is he has the potential to improve. While he's impressed in a central role this season, it's a position he's still learning.

While there's no doubt the England international has made some progression, Charles Watts of Football.London believes some of the praise has been a little excessive:

Oxlade-Chamberlain's challenge is to find a consistent level in his game, cement his place in the Liverpool side and continue adding goals and assists to his game. He appears to be on the right track.

Plus, in relation to Henry and Neville comments, he is beginning to define himself on the pitch. Liverpool supporters will say that, in the current market, a £35 million transfer fee for a valued member of the squad represents excellent business.

Related

    What We've Learned from Liverpool's Pre-Season Friendlies So Far

    Liverpool logo
    Liverpool

    What We've Learned from Liverpool's Pre-Season Friendlies So Far

    Jack Lusby
    via This Is Anfield

    Maurizio Sarri Wants to Bring the Fun Times Back to Chelsea

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Maurizio Sarri Wants to Bring the Fun Times Back to Chelsea

    Jacob Steinberg
    via the Guardian

    How It Feels to Be a Liverpool Fan This Summer

    Liverpool logo
    Liverpool

    How It Feels to Be a Liverpool Fan This Summer

    FourFourTwo
    via FourFourTwo

    How Liverpool Turned the Transfer Tables on Chelsea

    Liverpool logo
    Liverpool

    How Liverpool Turned the Transfer Tables on Chelsea

    via liverpoolecho