By Nick Ames

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes that Southampton are well equipped for success this season.

Arsenal’s next opponents have earned two consecutive promotions en route to the top flight, with Oxlade-Chamberlain himself playing a big part in their rise from League One during 2010/11.

Although firmly a Gunner now, the 19-year-old still has plenty of admiration for the work Nigel Adkins and his team have carried out at St Mary’s.

“I didn’t ever doubt they’d have a really successful season the year I left,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told the Official Matchday Programme.

“They have a lot of very good players there like Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jose Fonte and Rickie Lambert, so I always know they’d do well and am really happy about what happened.

“I wasn’t at all surprised to see them go straight back up, because they’ve got a really tight group down there, a good team spirit with everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, a good management team and a good chairman. Everything’s in place for them.”

More than 12 months since his high-profile move to Emirates Stadium, Oxlade-Chamberlain feels increasingly at ease with his status as an important first-team player - and explains that heightened confidence is allowing him to display his talent.

“I think it’s not so much that you can feel yourself improving, it’s more that you feel more comfortable and confident and have more trust in your own ability,” he said. “That comes with time and experience.

“I think I’ve settled down a lot more, I feel confident in myself and around my team-mates, and that helps the rest come through.”

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14 Sep 2012