By Joe Brewin
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was tempted to Arsenal by the style of their play and the wisdom of their manager.
The young winger joined the Gunners from Southampton in the summer and has impressed quickly during his short time at Emirates Stadium.
Grabbing a goal on his Champions League debut on Wednesday night would have impressed the watching Arsène Wenger – the man who inspired Oxlade-Chamberlain to join the Club in the first place.
“I always used to watch Arsenal and I loved the way they played football,” he said. “I think it was the manager, stadium and fans that sold it for me.
“The boss is a massive influence in the game and he is such an intelligent man. The stuff he says, you have to sit back and can only admire. Even in his team talk for today, the stuff he says is brilliant.
“You always learn stuff from him. He has a quiet word every now and again but the stuff he says is spot on. You think ‘yeah, actually I didn’t realise that and thank you.’ He’s just a fantastic man and I think the way he thought he could develop my game really pushed me towards Arsenal.
“It’s a massive club and nights like this prove it. I came to a few games last season – the Barcelona one here when they won – and I was blown away so that was it.”
Although Wenger served the final match of his two-game UEFA suspension on Wednesday, his words earlier in the day eased Oxlade-Chamberlain into his first taste of European action.
“He just said go out and be confident and do what you do, concentrate on defending and going forward,” said the 18-year-old.
“I tried to take on board everything he said but he is a manager who does just let you get on with it as well and learn yourself. Then he’ll come over later on, have a quiet word and say where you could improve.
“He said a little bit before the game which calmed my nerves a bit.”Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source