Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has provided Watford winger Gerard Deulofeu with support during his recovery from a serious knee injury suffered in the 3-0 win over Liverpool.
Deulofeu had started positively on the left wing as the Hornets ended the Reds’ long unbeaten run in the Premier League in February, but had exited the field before any of the goals.
A routine challenge from Virgil van Dijk—significantly stronger than the Spaniard—left the No. 7 in agony on the Vicarage Road turf.
Both Van Dijk and Oxlade-Chamberlain approached Deulofeu while he was being stretchered off, and it transpired he had ruptured his ACL and torn his meniscus, with his club announcing that his season was over.
After surgery in Barcelona, Deulofeu has been in lockdown with his physio to speed up the recovery process, and spoke to Watford‘s official podcast on the situation.
Interestingly, he paid tribute to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has given advice and words of encouragement having suffered a similar injury twice in his career.
“I knew Oxlade-Chamberlain before as Hector Bellerin was my team-mate with the [Spain] under-21s and sometimes I went to his house with Alex,” he explained.
“He suffered this injury twice and he sent me a message. He’s a really good guy and a lot guys who have suffered this type of injury can help you.
“I am asking all the time, ‘what do I have to do?’ and ‘how did it feel?’.”
Deulofeu also added that Van Dijk had sent messages to both him and Watford captain Troy Deeney, and the winger acknowledged it “wasn’t on purpose” and “it was a typical action in England.”
It should come as no surprise that Oxlade-Chamberlain has been supporting Deulofeu during his layoff, as the midfielder is often heralded as a driving force for those in the treatment room at Liverpool.
Earlier this week, Paul Glatzel explained how watching the No. 15 in action has helped him through a similar ACL injury this season.
“When he plays well or has a good game, it fills me with confidence because I know what he’s been through and I know he’s been out for a long time but he’s been able to bounce back,” the 19-year-old said.
“He has been playing well and scoring goals, so I just hope when I get back I can do the same.
“It’s good to have someone like that to look up to and see they’ve been there and done that. Hopefully I can do that too.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain was key in Rhian Brewster‘s recovery from ankle and knee problems, with the pair sidelined at the same time and the England international serving as a pillar to his younger team-mate.
It is a testament to his character that Oxlade-Chamberlain follows through with this, as he clearly cares about those going through the same struggles he has as a player.