England manager Gareth Southgate has claimed that next month's Nations League Finals have come too soon for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Liverpool midfielder will play for his country next season.
The 25-year-old has only played 19 minutes for the Reds this season following a devastating medial and cruciate knee ligament injury suffered against Roma in last season's Champions League semi-final.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is aiming to be fit for the European Cup final on June 1 against Tottenham, but with the Three Lions' options ever-growing in midfield, Southgate has insisted that the former Arsenal man will have to prove his worth to gain more caps.
“I think when you are recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, you need a period of time to get into more starts, more 90 minutes under his belt and it’s an important thing for him that he’s managed to get some minutes at Liverpool,” Southgate said, as quoted by the Evening Standard.
“But I think a good pre-season… because what’s happened with him, a couple of minor hamstring injuries, is classic when you’ve been out with a long-term injury.
"We shouldn’t be risking him in our games at this stage of his recovery from a serious injury.
"But he’s very much in our thoughts for next season.”
Having seen off Spain and Croatia in their Nations League Group stage, England will face the Netherlands on June 6, with the winner facing either Portugal or Switzerland in Porto three days later.
Southgate has expressed concerns regarding the fitness of his players, with nine of his 26-man squad involved in the all-English Champions League final just five days before the clash against Ronald Koeman's young side.
Source : 90min