By Harry Sykes
Tony Cascarino has claimed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s defensive frailties were exposed in England’s 2-1 win over Slovakia on Monday night.
The new Liverpool signing was selected in the starting XI for the second time in four days by manager Gareth Southgate as the team came from behind to take a commanding five-point lead at the top of Group F in the 2018 World Cup qualifying stage.
Goals from Tottenham’s Eric Dier and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford earned victory for England and ensured they remain on course for a place at the finals in Russia next summer.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was selected in a right attacking midfield role as he earned his 29th international cap at the age of 24.
Sky Sports pundit Cascarino is among those who believes the £35million deadline day signing is a liability when it comes to defending, and he is not alone in that regard.
“Marcus Rashford and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, England’s two wide men last night, have to produce something special on the attack, as the Manchester United forward did with the second goal, because they really struggle defensively,” Cascarino wrote in the Times. “The pair have the pace and skill to go past most opponents but the modern game demands so much more of wingers.
“I can see why Oxlade-Chamberlain has said that he prefers to play in the centre rather than on the flank — his defensive frailties are not so exposed in that position.
“Last night there were a few occasions when Liverpool’s new £35million signing did not read the situation and failed to help out his full back.”
Both Southgate and Jurgen Klopp see Oxlade-Chamberlain as a crucial player in their respective squads.
He snubbed contract offers from Arsenal and Chelsea to end his six-year spell at Emirates Stadium and join Liverpool on deadline day.
In other Liverpool news, ex-Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has made an extraordinary claim about Celtic and his former club.