Today’s game marks the two year anniversary for the Southampton boss Nigel Adkins. That game was in League one against MK Dons and there was a young kid in the side called Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Southampton’s rise to the Premier league since then has been astounding, but no more remarkable than the meteoric rise of the Ox.
That season, aged just 17-years old, Oxlade-Chamberlain made 34 league appearances, scoring nine goals and providing eight assists. He had been at Southampton since he was seven but took his chance to further his career last summer when Arsenal came calling and has not looked back. He doesn’t seem to possess nerves and looks at home against any opposition and at international level.
Nigel Adkins says that the club are very proud of what the Ox has achieved and are expecting him to torment them today. Arsene Wenger has claimed, however, that many players find it overwhelming when they return for the first time to their former clubs.
“Sometimes they are absolutely outstanding, but most of the time they have a very average day.
“He has to forget that it’s his former club and just play.”
Wenger believes that experience helps players deal with such occasions, so maybe he is suggesting it could be tough for the lad. Wenger may also be trying to take the expectations off his shoulders. He might not start the Ox, to be honest he could do with a rest before the tough games start coming around quickly, but he could always come on as an impact sub when Southampton players are tired and the pressure is not so high.