While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is busy focusing on his own fitness during this pre-season, his 18-year old brother will be preparing to play a role in Portsmouth’s push for promotion back to League One.
In the summer of 2011, Arsene Wenger spent a figure rumoured to be around £12m on a 17-year product of Southampton’s academy. And even then – five years ago – the Ox spared a line or two for his younger brother, Christian, who was at the time a 14-year old making his way through the Pompey youth set-up.
“He’s my Dad’s next little project!” said Alex of his younger brother.
And having played a part in both of Pompey’s pre-season fixtures to date, the midfielder can expect plenty of game time over the next campaign.
Christian likes to operate from a central role, dominating the pace of a game with his ability on the ball.
And as well as breaking up play in his own half, Mini-Ox showed this past weekend that he’s capable of getting on the scoresheet, too, netting in the 81st minute in a 2-1 defeat at Sutton.
His physical presence attracted the interest of several non-league clubs last season for a loan spell, but having spent a month with local side Wimborne Town, Chamberlain has since secured a professional contract at Fratton Park as he looks to break into the first team.
Alex represented Southampton in League One on 36 occasions, scoring nine goals before the Gunners came calling.
And if that kind of form can be replicated at Portsmouth by Christian, it might not take as long for Premier League bosses up and down the country to battle it out for the young midfielder’s signature.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.