"I rate him more highly than Walcott"

13 January 2011

Already a reputed target for Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United according to the Daily Mail, the father of Southampton prodigy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has flamed the fires of the now feverish speculation by suggesting the precocious 17-year-old is a better prospect than England winger Theo Walcott.

The League One sensation has emerged as one of the hottest prospects in English football in the last few months, with all the aforementioned Premier League clubs being credited with an interest in the midfielder.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Damien Comolli both watched the English starlet in person on Tuesday night, amid reports a £10 million bid from their respective parties will shortly be in the offing, while scouts from countless other clubs have been in attendance to see the player's fledgling career develop.

But rather than temper the press speculation, his father Mark Chamberlain believes the raw potential is there as long as he remains grounded.

Chamberlain senior told the Daily Mail: “You see some of these young boys nowadays who are on big contracts, earning “X” amount of pounds, acting like they have made it,

“I wouldn’t like it if Alex was to go down that route, I wouldn’t be too pleased at all. He’s fine at the moment but we will keep an eye on that.

“He likes to read about himself in the papers, and likes watching himself on the Football League Show.

“But he is a level-headed boy. After games he doesn’t like the fuss, he just wants to leave the ground and meet his mates.

 “It’s nice being pretty on the ball, but if you don’t have the end product then it’s a waste of time,

“His ability to cross the ball is good and he already has seven goals this season. He needs to work on getting more assists.”

Formerly a youth coach at Southampton, Chamberlain was at the club when Theo Walcott burst on to the season, and at the same age, he suggests his son is a better prospect than the Arsenal star. 

“I said at the start of the season that I rate him more highly than Walcott and everyone looked at me funny.” He continued “But I’ve worked with both, they have their assets and attributes. But as an all-round technical player Alex has more to offer.”

Southampton stalwart Danny Butterfield dismissed the notion of nepotism from the aforementioned ex-Stoke and England winger, by echoing Chamberlain senior’s comments regarding the Saints youngster. 

The defender told the Mail: “He’s got very quick feet and is explosive off the mark, he delivers a good final ball and he scores goals,

“From where he is now to what I’d imagine Theo Walcott was like at 17, I’d say Alex is far more advanced.”