London, United Kingdom | AFP | England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal on Thursday for a reported £35 million ($45.1 million, 37.9 million euros) dealing another early season blow to embattled manager Arsene Wenger.
Here AFP Sports picks out five things on Liverpool’s newest recruit.
All round sporting talent
Oxlade-Chamberlain is blessed with natural sporting talent. As a schoolboy he was offered a trial with rugby union side London Irish and also with English county championship side Hampshire but because of his commitments with Southampton’s Academy had to decline them both. “In his final year at the school he scored a half century in every game he played, his batting average was ridiculous,” said South East Hampshire cricket coach Tim Jacobs.
Football in the blood
The ‘Ox’s’ father Mark was an elegant winger who won eight England caps in the two years he played for Stoke. Chamberlain senior — whose brother Neville also played for Stoke — always believed he would make it when he came to his academy aged five despite his son being at the time smaller than his contemporaries. “All the advice I had was from my Dad. He was the person I trusted and listened to because he was very honest. He believed that when I grew and caught up with everyone else that I’d be at a better standard than the boys who at the time were in front of me in other people’s eyes,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told Complex UK in April this year.
“I tried to squeeze into the medium!” 💪
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 31, 2017
He has already won over three times the amount of caps his father won for England but it would be even more had not injuries cost him appearances both at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016. Then England boss Roy Hodgson gave the 18-year-old his debut in a warm-up match. Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted that when he first turned up for England duty his heart was in his mouth. “You struggle to eat your food,” he told The Daily Express in 2015. “Your stomach is churning. You start putting things on your plate you don’t even like eating just to make time to look around to assess the table plan, see where everybody is sitting and work out where is the best place to sit.”
Off the pitch Oxlade-Chamberlain is an avid music listener, as well as a keen follower of US sports, with dance hall and Jamaican music his preferred sounds as he told Complex UK. “I listen to a lot of dancehall. A lot of Jamaican music, a lot of Popcaan and Alkaline,” he said in April. With regard to US sports his preferred players couldn’t be more of a contrast with NBA legend Lebron James and discarded NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
‘Ox’ wants to stay in the Mix
His girlfriend is Perrie Edwards, the 24-year-old member of girl band Little Mix, and he plans to keep her as his partner for fear of the revenge that she could wreak if she was downgraded to ‘an ex’. She is reputed to have the Brit award winning ‘Shout Out to my Ex’ with regard to former fiance Zayn Malik. “I better watch out! I don’t want her to become an ex and sing about me,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told OK Magazine. “I better look after her.”