Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain revealed that Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has inspired him, as reported by The Athletic.
The former Arsenal star has suffered from a difficult campaign, with a knee injury ruling him out for much of the first-half of the season.
“De Bruyne would be who I would look up to in terms of how he’s producing numbers and the way he plays, one that I look to and think, yeah, he’s got great numbers,” the 27-year-old admitted.
“He would be the one that I’d look to try and play the way he does. How positive he is when he’s turning, running with the ball, he’s playing forwards, also getting in the wide areas, putting a lot of crosses in and running down the channels.
“I’d say he’s the most dynamic player and one that I try and play very similar to when I’m in that position.
“The difference with me and with others, is the quality of his end product is top-notch and that’s what makes him special.”
Bias aside, there are certainly few that could confidently claim to be in the Belgian’s league in world football when it comes to the role he plays for Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect.
Having only racked up 10 appearances this term, suspicions have begun to arise over the midfielder’s future at Anfield, with recent reports linking him with a switch to the Bundesliga and Jurgen Klopp’s former club, Borussia Dortmund.
When considering the player’s prior performances for us, however, not to mention the growing complexity of modern stats in defining quality and influence, it’s increasingly difficult to determine whether players like Oxlade-Chamberlain are worth holding on to.
“Last season the way it would work out would be I’d managed to break a line running forward with the ball,” the No.15 added.
“And I get to the edge of the box, and I go shoot and I know Trent’s on the way and then I will pretend to shoot and just slip Trent to the byline who cuts it back for Sadio to tap in.
“Unless it’s an assist people forget it and they won’t know about it. But that’s just the way it is.
“I always find it interesting when I get given stats like that (deeper than goals and assists).
“They’re not as readily available to us. The STATSports stuff, the physical stats are, but this I’ll see every now and again when it pops up.”
Moving beyond sentiment and taking into account the ex-Southampton man’s struggles with injury, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the club part ways with him in the summer window to boost our transfer kitty.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to think of an eventuality where the midfielder can still make a contribution to our successes going forward – though such chances are becoming increasingly few and far between.