Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will come up against his old employers at the weekend as Southampton are the visitors at Emirates and Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, has told the youngster to forget that he is playing against his old club so that he can thrive against them.
The England international was in the youth setup at Southampton after joining their academy aged just 7, but he left the club to join Arsenal for an initial fee of £12m, which could rise to £15m, in the summer of 2011.
Arsene Wenger has told him to forget about his Southampton past at the weekend though so that he can perform at his best.
“He has to forget that it’s his former club and just play,” the manager said. “It’s always a little bit special for the guys who play against their former clubs – and I’ve not seen many players who can deal well with that.
“Sometimes they are absolutely outstanding, but most of the time they have a very average day.
“You try to assess how big the weight of this special moment will play on their mind. The more experienced they are, the better they deal with it.”
This is the second time Arsene Wenger has taken a youngster from Southampton’s ranks and he has classed their acadamy as ‘unbelievable’. Before Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger also took Theo Walcott from the saints back in 2006.
Alex William Batt