AOC wants repeat of dream debut season

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hoping he will be able to have another impressive season after a stunning rise since joining Arsenal last summer.

Arsenal vs Newcastle: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

By Gabriel Tan in Kuala Lumpur

The 18-year-old joined the Barclays Premier League outfit from Southampton for a reported fee of £12million at the start of last season, although his former side could pocket up to a further £3m depending on his success at the club.

While Oxlade-Chamberlain was expected to play a bit-part role in his maiden campaign at the Emirates Stadium, he went on to make 26 appearances in all competition and even earned a place in the England squad that reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

With a full season of English top-flight football under his belt, the talented winger is hoping to progress even further in the coming year.

"I was really happy with the way last season went," he revealed. "To be involved with a massive club like Arsenal is just a dream come true for me.

"I approach this season with the exact same mentality as I did last year. I'm still one of the youngest in the squad and still very inexperienced and I have to keep working hard and keep my head down.

"I just want to keep learning from everyone else in training and whenever I get my chance, I just have to play well and that's what it is for me this season."

Having missed Arsenal's trip to Asia last year and he had signed after the tour had concluded, the England international expressed his excitement and embarking on his first trip overseas with the club, and stressed the importance of the visit.

"Last year I joined only after pre-season so I wasn't part of the tour," Oxlade-Chamberlain added. "I've loved every minute of it.

"To come to a place like Malaysia with all the boys, it just adds to the excitement and you get to learn about different cultures.

"Everyone talks about team bonding and when you travel together, it just brings everyone at the club together."

Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of six Arsenal players that were part of a surprise visit to a local school in Shah Alam on Monday, and some of the biggest cheers from the children were reserved for the teenager.

And while he didn't get to experience the passion some of the overseas fans have for the club, he did reveal he had been warned by some of the players who had witnessed in firsthand last summer.

"The rest of the players gave me an insight on what to expect from the fans," he revealed.

"Obviously just coming off the team bus and walking ten yards, I got a quick glimpse of the fans and they were screaming outside.

"There weren't many of them but they seemed very passionate. It's different from back home especially when they're so far away in Asia - it's not every day they get to watch their favourite team."

The Gunners will take on Malaysia at the Bukit Jalil Stadium on Tuesday, before travelling to China and Hong Kong to take on Manchester City and Kitchee respectively.



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