Oxlade-Chamberlain pays tribute to Arsenal support

The energetic midfielder settled straight into life in the top flight after making the step up from League One and believes that his swift adaption is down to the fans

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has hailed Arsenal fans for making him feel welcome at the club, explaining that their support played a key role in helping him settle in to life in north London.

Since arriving from Southampton as a 17-year-old in 2011, the youngster has quickly risen to the Gunners’ first team and the England squad and he hopes that his performances can repay the faith shown by the influential Emirates Stadium crowd.

“The supporters welcomed me with open arms and really did make me feel welcome,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told the club’s official website. “It’s nice when they take to you in a positive light.

“That support really did help me in my first season. I was a bit of an unknown quantity. People didn’t know what they were going to get from me.

“I was a young lad stepping up from League One into the Premier League and Champions League football. It’s a big jump and people didn’t really know if I was going to deliver.

“I think I found that in my first year, I was happy with the way it went and the fans took to me. It was almost quite exciting for them to see.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the second season has been a little tougher going for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been restricted to just 16 starts for the club, but the former Saints starlet insists that he is focused on his development rather than any negative press.

“It hasn’t really affected me too much because I’ve always been focused on where I need to be and I’m always trying to improve my game,” he continued.

“Sometimes it is hard to ignore, when it’s coming in the papers and your friends are telling you what people are saying. It is hard but it’s all part and parcel of it. If you didn’t have people critiquing you, you wouldn’t find motivation.

“I always want people to be watching me and I like it when people tell me I need to be doing more. It gives me more motivation to go out and there, roll up my sleeves and prove to them that they can knock me down but I’m going to keep going and keep proving that I can play and I can do well.”

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