Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he took a keen interest in Cohen Bramall when he spotted the Hednesford Town trialist training with the Arsenal first team before Christmas.
The England international was undergoing a fitness session separate from his teammates when he learned about the left-back and admits he was inspired by the 20-year-old’s back-story.
“I was training on the side of the pitch with the fitness coach. So I was looking over and then I saw him training, so I asked someone about him and they me a story and obviously it made me think wow… to be where he was a couple of weeks ago, and then to be training with the Arsenal first team, I was thinking he must be in dreamland over there.
“I paid close attention to him and saw some really good signs of things – you can see why we wanted to sign him.
“I was very encouraged by his story and quite inspired to see someone that’s been given that opportunity and he was proving himself and holding his own. It was great, and then I chatted to him after training and he was just a really good lad and a top boy. He was generally just delighted and surprised at the same time, to be in the position that he was.
“He was really humble about it as well, which is always nice to see. Straightaway he seemed like somebody I wanted to help, and wanted to see do well.”
Despite the temptation to play up Bramall as a bright prospect, Arsenal appear eager to take the pressure off the kid by insisting he’ll start his Gunners career working with Steve Gatting’s under-23s. It’s probably for the best given the jump he’s about to make…