Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says Southampton prevented him from choosing rugby over football

The England Under-21 international has enjoyed much success in recent weeks and cites the influence on his career of his father, who himself won eight caps for the Three Lions

Arsenal and England’s exciting prospect Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed that he could have chosen rugby over football.

Chamberlain has impressed England manager Fabio Capello with his recent performances, which include his hat-trick against Iceland for the England Under-21 team.

However, the 18-year-old has admitted that he could have become a rugby player if Southampton hadn’t prevented him from going to a rugby trial.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was quoted as saying by The Sun: "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."

Mark Chamberlain - who won eight caps for England - is Oxlade-Chamberlain’s father and mentor and the Arsenal winger is heavily influenced by him.

"My dad speaks a lot of sense and keeps me grounded.

"He'll watch me play and, if I've done well, he'll have a quiet word with me and say, 'Well done'. If I've had a not-so-good game, he'll let me know about it.

He always tells me I need to win more caps than he did, so that fires me on.

"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. He's doing the same now with my little brother Christian, who is 13 and down at Portsmouth.

"He's my dad's next little project!"

The young talent is also looking forward to moving into his own home.

He said: "I am about to move into my own place.

"I'm hoping my mum will come up once a week to do my washing.

"I'll handle living on my own. You've got to learn somehow. I'll take it all in my stride like I do everything else."