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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up about how Thierry Henry’s criticism after his move to Liverpool has stuck with him.
Back in September, shortly after the Ox had completed a £40m move to Liverpool, Henry claimed that after years of watching the 24-year-old play, he still didn’t know what he was really good at.
“I have been watching him for a very long time and I still don’t know what he’s good at,” he said.
The criticism would have stung Oxlade, since he looked up to Henry and even trained alongside him when the legend returned to Arsenal on loan from New York Red Bulls in 2012.
Speaking after winning Man of the Match for Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, the midfielder admitted that he hadn’t forgotten the Sky Sports pundit’s comments. He even said that Henry’s criticism, as well as Gary Neville’s, was a bit stupid.
“Those comments are probably a bit stupid,” he said, reports the Guardian.
“When you have watched someone long enough you know what they can do. 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. If they are referencing more end product then that is fair enough, I hold my hands up. That is something that I have been working on and still need to work on.
“I don’t need to (contact them). If people want to say those things you remember them, you don’t forget them, but I am not here to make enemies. If that is what they think, fair enough.”
He added, “It is not nice to hear it from your peers or people you have worked with and I have worked with them both in different capacities. They can have their opinions. It cannot shake me. The important thing is that when I came here I had a manager who had faith in me and he felt something different to that, and I had faith in myself. That is why I made the step.
“Everyone says you have to be your own biggest fan and believe in yourself. I am old enough and wise enough and I have been around long enough to know that things will be said, and not nice things a lot of the time. And when you are doing well, nice things will be said. That is all part and parcel of it. But it is never nice to hear it from people you have worked with.”
Although the Ox took a little while to find his footing at Liverpool, he’s now looking solid. The England international has made 12 Premier League starts (26 appearances), scored three goals and provided five assists.
Jurgen Klopp is also pleased with the youngster’s progress since his move to Merseyside. After Liverpool’s victory this weekend, the German even admitted that while Oxlade looked good at Arsenal, he knew there were some ‘more steps’ in the midfielder’s development.
“We bought the player we saw at Arsenal, but we thought they could be few more steps in his development,” Klopp said, reports the Daily Star.
“He’s already taken some, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still a young boy, he can be much more consistent and much more of a threat.
“He doesn’t feel a greed for scoring, like Mohamed Salah, but we will work on that. He’s a very important player for us.”