Football

Arsenal star reveals Neymar regret

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Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain concedes he should have known better than to request a shirt swap with Neymar before the end of England’s draw with Brazil in the Maracana last summer.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored England’s first goal of the night in the iconic Rio de Janeiro arena, before Wayne Rooney put the visitors ahead, but a late strike from Paulinho ensured the encounter ended 2-2.

The Gunners youngster was seen asking Neymar for his jersey during the game, something former teammate Andre Santos was derided for when Arsenal met with Robin van Persie and Manchester United last season, and pundit Roy Keane lambasted Oxlade-Chamberlain for his actions.

Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he regrets having done so, although says he only did so out of the respect he has for Neymar.

"I did ask him during the game," Oxlade-Chamberlain told reporters. "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."

The 20-year-old was speaking ahead of England’s friendly meeting with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday evening, and is in contention to be included in the starting line-up by manager Roy Hodgson following his good form for Arsenal since return from injury.

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