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Arsenal starlet Oxlade-Chamberlain: I almost rejected football for rugby career

Arsenal superkid Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he almost chose a pro career in rugby.

Fortunately for the nation's football fans, his prowess with the round ball shone through first and he joined Southampton's academy at the age of seven.

But he said: "My senior school didn't play football. It was a rugby and cricket school and as I was on a sports scholarship I was forced to play rugby.

"I played scrum-half or full-back and I was all right at it.

"I got a trial for London Irish but couldn't do it because Southampton wouldn't let me."

You get the feeling his dad and mentor Mark Chamberlain - the former Stoke, Portsmouth and England wideman - would not have been too thrilled either by the prospect of his boy becoming an egg chaser.

But Oxlade-Chamberlain said: "If I hadn't wanted to become a footballer, Dad wouldn't have made me do it.

"But from day one I showed him I did want to do it and he did everything to help me along."

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