Chamberlain indebted to Saints
Teenager voices gratitude to Southampton
Last Updated: 22/09/11 5:46pm
Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he owes everything to his first club Southampton after they handed him his break in football.
The winger was just seven when his association with the Saints began and went on to break into the first team and make his professional debut aged 16.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, now 18, made the move to Emirates Stadium during the summer after catching Arsene Wenger's eye with a host of impressive performances in League One.
The teenager has voiced his gratitude to his former employers for helping him to where he is today.
"I owe them massively - I'd been at Southampton since I was seven," he told Arsenal's official website.
"They put so much hard work into me and the fans down there welcomed me into the first team so warmly.
"I couldn't have asked for more, so I've got a lot of time for them and I hope to be able to play there again one day and show my appreciation. I'll always have a place in my heart for them."
Southampton have made a bright start to life in the Championship this season after securing promotion from League One last term.
Nigel Adkins' men are already being tipped for a second consecutive promotion and Oxlade-Chamberlain would relish seeing his former club in the Premier League.
"One major factor down there is that it's such a great group of lads - one of the hardest things about leaving was the boys," he said.
"Whoever comes in is welcomed straightaway, much like here at Arsenal.
"Everyone down there has been going for the same thing, and they've had that continuity - they haven't had many players leaving or coming in, it's still the tight group that was promoted last season, and I think the lift promotion gave them was massive.
"Things are looking good down at Southampton."