England’s Oxlade-Chamberlain won’t make shirt-swap mistake again

England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

If England play Brazil this summer, there is no way Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will ask Neymar for his shirt until the final whistle is blown.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the most memorable goal of his career last June when he fired England level during a landmark friendly in the Maracana.

The winger took home an impressive memento from the 2-2 draw - the shirt of Neymar, who was to make a multi-million pound move to Barcelona later that summer.

Roy Keane, and current Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate, took exception to the way in which Oxlade-Chamberlain procured the shirt during their post-match analysis.

The Arsenal midfielder asked Neymar for his jersey during the match - something which he admits was the wrong decision.

“I did ask him during the game. I gave him a little nudge,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

“Roy Keane hammered me for it. I didn’t try and make it too blatant. It just happened that the camera landed on me right at the time I nudged him. I agree with Roy. It’s not the way to go about things.

“I have to hold my hands up. You’re not in awe of these players. I’ve got massive respect for what he’s done in world football.”

Despite the controversy surrounding the shirt-swap, the trip to Brazil did prove to be a worthwhile experience for Oxlade-Chamberlain on a number of levels.

That 20-yard strike past Julio Cesar also provided the 20-year-old with a memory he went back to again and again when he was working his way back from a serious knee injury he suffered on the opening day of the season.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was out of action for five months and to lift his spirits he revisited the goal in his mind many a time.

“Moments like that are nice to look back on when you’re going through a tough time like an injury,” the former Southampton man said.

“Little reminders can keep you inspired and motivated.”