In a time where footballers reputations are at an all-time low (often deservedly so) it is also important to highlight footballers that are acting as positive role models for young fans.
Most would forgive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if he was at home in bed wallowing in self-pity. He picked up an injury in Liverpool’s semi-final first leg win over Roma last month. Scans confirmed the midfielder had suffered knee ligament damage. He now will miss Liverpool’s Champions League Final against Real Madrid. He will also miss England’s World Cup campaign in Russia later this summer. Many young boys growing up dream of representing their country at a World Cup. So to be so close and have it snatched away is heart breaking.
He took to twitter to express his feelings;
“Absolutely devastated to have picked up that injury at such a crucial time in the season,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “Gutted I won’t be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England.”
However, even during this tough time he was able to see the bigger picture. He paid tribute to Irish fan Sean Cox who is still critically ill in hospital with a brain injury after being attacked outside Anfield by two Roma fans.
“However, this all pales in comparison to how the family of the Liverpool fan badly hurt before last night’s game must be feeling,” he added. “My thoughts are with him and his loved ones. “Thank you for all your kind words, messages and support. I’ll see you soon. YWNA”
This isn’t the first time that Chamberlain has been able to look past his own struggles and think of the fans.
He met four-year-old Bobbi Jaggar and his Father Joe after Liverpool’s second leg win against Manchester City in April. He made Bobbi’s night by gifting him with his shirt. Joe had been taking Bobbi to Liverpool matches home and away since his third birthday in late 2016. After Liverpool qualified for the final Joe was determined to make the match in Kiev. He booked flights to Kiev as soon as he arrived back in Liverpool after the semi-final. He was devastated then when he found out that he and his son had missed out on tickets for the final. He tried every avenue possible to him but still couldn’t secure tickets.
Oxlade-Chamberlain heard of Joe’s struggle through social media. He messages Joe through Instagram letting him know he had a pair of tickets for them. In a time when social media can be such a toxic, negative influence on our lives it’s great to see it being used in a positive way. Chamberlain acts as an example of a player who acknowledges his privilege. He makes sure to keep the fans in his thoughts and tries to help them out when he can. Even when he’s going through a difficult chapter himself he stays humble and makes sure to look at the bigger picture.
Joe Jaggar was sure to heap praise on the Liverpool midfielder;
"Oxlade-Chamberlain is the most humble guy, and he doesn't even realise that what he has done is such a grand gesture," added Joe.
"Alex just oozes class. He will never know how much this means to me and Bobbi. We are so grateful for his generosity."
He acts as a powerful role-model for young players to stay humble and connected with the fans whether they’re reaching the heights of success or going through professional turmoil. We’ll be wishing Alex a speedy recovery and will thinking of him on Saturday as Liverpool take on Real Madrid in the Champions League Final.