Santi Cazorla has offered some words of encouragement to former Arsenal teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, after admitting he’s been following the Liverpool man’s progress.

Having finally returned from a two-year struggle with various injuries to make consecutive starts for Villarreal, Cazorla is pretty much the expert in defying the odds to fight his way back to fitness.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury isn’t quite as bad as that, but nonetheless he’s likely to remain on the sidelines for much of the season. Arsenal’s former Spanish midfielder had some words of advice and encouragement for his old North London teammate.

“I’m following him, watching his videos, seeing his progress,” said Cazorla. “It came at a time when he was playing very well, he missed the Champions League final, Liverpool are [looking likely to] produce a great season now, there was the World Cup.

“When there are people who have long-term injuries, I try to make them see that: that a lot is in your head. I’ve been through it, I’ve had moments when I couldn’t control my head and I wanted to throw in the towel.

“[Injured players] have to try to help each other out and be able to offer that perspective that comes of having been through it. He’s a strong person and I am sure he will be back. He seems to be making progress.”

In fairness, Oxlade-Chamberlain has dealt with injury setbacks before, so it shouldn’t be a major problem for him mentally. The biggest issue for him at Arsenal was that he’d come back strong from an injury just to pick up another one not long later.

As for Cazorla, let’s just hope he avoids any setbacks of his own, because at this stage of his career they’re likely to have a much greater effect on his chances of continuing in professional football.