Injured Ox 'gutted' to miss World Cup

BBC sports correspondent David Ornstein posted this image of an attack before the Liverpool-Roma game on Tuesday. The Reds' Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made mention of the fan who is fighting for his life.
BBC sports correspondent David Ornstein posted this image of an attack before the Liverpool-Roma game on Tuesday. The Reds' Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made mention of the fan who is fighting for his life.PHOTO: TWITTER/BBCSPORT_DAVID

LONDON • England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said on Wednesday that he was "devastated" to be ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury, but that it "pales in comparison" to the attack on a Liverpool fan before Tuesday's Champions League clash with Roma.

The 24-year-old was carried off on a stretcher midway through the first half of the 5-2 semi-final first-leg victory over Roma at Anfield.

A scan on Wednesday revealed ligament damage and he called England manager Gareth Southgate to speak to him about the injury and its implications.

"Absolutely devastated to have picked up this injury at such a crucial time in the season," tweeted Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"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."

Oxlade-Chamberlain, capped 32 times, joined the Anfield side from Arsenal last summer for £35 million (S$64.6 million) and has made 41 appearances in all competitions, scoring five goals.

The 2018 World Cup will be the third international tournament that Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed due to a knee problem.

The midfielder missed the 2014 World Cup after being injured in a warm-up match with England and also sat out the 2016 European Championship with a similar injury.

"I'm going to give everything I have to make sure I'm back as quickly as possible," he added.

"However, all this pales in comparison to how the family of the Liverpool fan badly hurt before (Tuesday's) game must be feeling. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones."

Liverpool's Irish supporter Sean Cox, 53, was left fighting for his life after suffering a serious head injury in an assault by Roma fans before kick-off on Tuesday.

Cox is being treated at the Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool, where his condition is critical.

Two Italian men were charged at a magistrates' court yesterday.

Filippo Lombardi, 20, has been charged with violent disorder and wounding and inflicting grievous bodily harm. Daniele Sciusco, 29, was also charged with violent disorder.

Sporadic trouble broke out in the city centre before the game as more than 50,000 fans descended on Anfield, including around 5,000 fans from Italy.

Fighting then erupted near The Albert pub close to the ground shortly before kick-off, where it is believed Cox was hit with a belt and fell to the ground.

Police made nine arrests before and after the game, for offences including affray, assault, possession of offensive weapons, possession of a controlled drug, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.

Liverpool and Roma have both condemned the violence and European governing body Uefa is awaiting further information before deciding its next step.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline 'Injured Ox 'gutted' to miss World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe