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Oxlade-Chamberlain: England players don't take Gary Neville criticism to heart

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain insists no England player holds a grudge against Gary Neville despite his often cutting criticism of them on television.

Despite only being on our screens for four years, Neville has earned a reputation as one of the most forensic and tough-talking pundits around.

The former Manchester United captain has spared no mercy when analysing the performances of the best players and teams in the Premier League.

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Some regard that as a conflict of interest because of his role within Roy Hodgson's coaching set-up, but Oxlade-Chamberlain believes the England players do not take the criticism to heart.

"He's my favourite pundit," the Arsenal and England midfielder said of Neville with a smile.

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"When I watch Monday Night Football, I always want to listen to what he has to say and nine times out of 10 I agree with everything he does say.

"It's brilliant the way he explains things and he is very respectful.

"He's very honest - as he is when he is away with England - and there is nothing wrong with that.

"It's credit to him because obviously it could be a tricky situation where he's talking about our games on TV and then he comes to work with England, but he seems to do it without any of us holding a grudge against him."

Oxlade-Chamberlain refused to get involved in the fallout from Neville's brutal assessment of Arsene Wenger's transfer policy.

The former right-back said the Arsenal manager's failure to add a powerful central midfielder to his squad smacked of "arrogance" or "naivety".

Wenger, clearly unhappy, dismissed Neville's barb.

"I haven't seen that," Oxlade-Chamberlain said, borrowing one of his manager's favourite sayings when asked about the spat.

"I don't need to act as a peacemaker. I have heard that our manager has addressed that - I'm sure he addressed it in a very good way - but they are two people I highly respect."

Not only is Neville a highly-respected member of Hodgson's coaching staff, he is a popular one, too.

Having played with several members of the squad, the 40-year-old provides the link between the players and Roy Hodgson and his assistant Ray Lewington.

Neville is often regarded as "one of the lads", according to Oxlade-Chamberlain, and even makes up the numbers in training.

"Sometimes when we are a player short he will fill in and he doesn't hold back at all," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"He's still got it. It's almost like he's trying to let Roy know he's ready to play. Last time, he might have pulled a muscle so I haven't seen him since then."

The training pitch banter aside, there is a serious side to Neville's role with England.

He gives presentations to the players on everything from match tactics to how to handle the media.

He is constantly looking for improvements within the set-up, living up to his nickname "busy" he used to have during his playing days at Manchester United.

FA staff members talk about Neville approaching them on away trips at breakfast to suggest improvements to their practices.

Oxlade-Chamberlain believes he has the potential to become a top manager.

"I'm sure he's very capable of doing that," the Arsenal midfielder said of Neville, who is the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Hodgson as England manager.

"But only he will know what he wants to do with his future.

"He brings a lot to the England team, he's nifty in our meetings and in analysing other teams and what he has to say in terms of coaching on the pitch is priceless.

"I'm sure he can go on and do whatever he wants."

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Topics:
Football
Arsenal
Theo Walcott
Gary Neville
Wayne Rooney

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