Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed that the warm welcome he received from the Arsenal fans helped him to settle in at the Emirates and hit the ground running.
The 19-year-old midfielder is now nearing the end of his second season with the north London side after moving from Southampton back in the summer of 2011.
And Chamberlain has impressed during his relatively short time with the club.
Having made a big impact in his debut season, he was given a call-up to the England squad and travelled with the side to Poland and Ukraine for the European Championships, where he started once.
Despite being on the fringes of the first-team, Oxlade-Chamberlain is considered as a favourite amongst the Arsenal fans, and he has thanked them for their tremendous support.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Chamberlain said: "The supporters welcomed me with open arms and really did make me feel welcome.
"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."
Very much like his teammate and fellow Southampton academy graduate, Theo Walcott, a lot of hype surrounded his move, with big things expected from Chamberlain.
But 'the Ox' insists that he doesn't let the hype effect his game.
"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 said.
"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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