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Oxlade-Chamberlain regrets Neymar shirt-swap

ESPN staff
March 4, 2014
Oxlade-Chamberlain excited by youth

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain accepts he was wrong to ask Neymar to swap shirts before the end of England's 2-2 friendly draw in Brazil last summer.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a memorable equaliser at the Maracana but, following the game, television pundit Roy Keane criticised him after the cameras showed he had asked Brazil star Neymar for his shirt while the match was still ongoing.

The 20-year-old - whose Arsenal teammate Andre Santos had been censured for a half-time shirt swap with Robin van Persie the previous year - did get his hands on the jersey after the match but insists he will not repeat his faux pas.

"I did ask him during the game," Oxlade-Chamberlain said. "I gave him a little nudge. Roy Keane hammered me for it. I didn't try and make it too blatant. It just happened that the camera landed on me right at the time I nudged him.

"I agree with Roy. It's not the way to go about things. I have to hold my hands up. You're not in awe of these players. It's a mutual respect, especially a player like Neymar, a player of a similar age to me and someone I've got massive respect for what he's done in world football."

Oxlade-Chamberlain retains fond memories of the trip to Brazil after his 20-yard strike and says he reflected on the incident during his recuperation from a serious knee injury this season.

"Moments like that are nice to look back on when you're going through a tough time like an injury," Oxlade-Chamberlain said. "Little reminders can keep you inspired and motivated to give you the best opportunity to get back playing. I've looked back on that moment a few times. The whole experience of Rio whetted my appetite."

Meanwhile, Denmark defender Simon Kjaer has said he has his sights set on England captain Steven Gerrard's shirt ahead of Wednesday's friendly at Wembley.

Kjaer, who plays for Lille, was quoted in the Daily Mirror saying: "For the first time in my career I have to go to another player and ask for his shirt - and that's a bit embarrassing, really.

"My father and the rest of my family are huge Liverpool supporters, and my father has literally forced me to ask for Steven Gerrard's jersey after the game, so I am a man with a mission - also after the game.

"I have never done that before, because normally you just exchange jerseys with the guy you play directly against. I'm pretty much down to earth with full focus on football and not easy to impress - a player and not a fan - but I must say that Steven Gerrard is a very special character and player who deserves the highest respect from anyone in the world of football."

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