Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he knows he still has room to improve as he looks to cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s England midfield.
The 26-year-old, who had been expected to start at last summer’s World Cup, was out of action for months after a career-threatening knee injury but is now back on form for Liverpool and England.
He has scored four goals this season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, including one particularly memorable strike against Genk in the Champions League, and opened the scoring in England’s 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro with his first international goal since 2017.
“I’ve made steps forward for sure with where I was before,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “I’ve got that feeling back of attacking and getting into areas and a few goals help that and help my confidence and for others to say I have found my form.
“But at the same time there are some games in there – the Arsenal game I had a poor game to be fair; I scored a good goal but I wasn’t good enough – and there are games where I wanted my all-round game to be better.
“But I was starting to get into the positions I was before I was injured and finding a bit more joy in those areas and getting that feeling back.”
Plenty of England fans have been excited by the dynamism Oxlade-Chamberlain has brought to Southgate’s midfield, and if he builds on his good form for Liverpool he could be a key player at next summer’s Euros.
However with the likes of Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Harry Winks and James Maddison arriving on the scene in recent years, plus the growing appreciation for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, there is plenty of competition for places in what looks likely to be a three-man midfield.
“I have been around for a while and had a lot of injuries that have kept me out of big games and tournaments,” Oxlade-Chamberlain added.
“I was coming into form when we played Holland and Italy in the March just before I got injured and I think I brought that form into England. But since the injury I am trying to pick up where I left off.
“In that time there have been a lot of other boys who have come through. There are different players and new dynamics so it is nice to slot back in and push myself to keep improving and try to find something different to help this team move forward.”