EXCLUSIVE: Wenger tells Disney - Hands off The Ox
Published 22:31 22/02/12 By Darren Lewis
Arsenal have thrown a protective cloak around Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as a string of big-name firms are lining up to work with the talented youngster.
The latest are movie giants Disney, who have had a request for a photo-shoot rejected by Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners boss put his foot down because the shoot, proposed for this week, was too close to Sunday's north London derby against Tottenham.
Alongside Robin van Persie, 18-year-old Oxlade Chamberlain is one of the few bright spots in a nightmare season for the Arsenal, who look certain to end a seventh successive campaign without a trophy and face a fight to qualify for next season's Champions League.
As such, Wenger - who has developed the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere since becoming Gunners boss in 1995 - is keen to limit The Ox's workload and media exposure.
Liverpool were similarly careful with Michael Owen and Manchester United with Ryan Giggs after both burst onto the scene in similar spectacular fashion.
Oxlade-Chamberlain - signed from Southampton in the summer - is already involved in a promotional campaign, alongside some of his team-mates, for auto giant Citroen.
Sports firm Nike also had him on billboards with the strapline "You ain't seen nothin' yet" - less than six months after his arrival at the Emirates.
Many Arsenal fans questioned Oxlade-Chamberlain's £12million purchase, but have changed their tune after witnessing the explosive start of his Emirates career.
He scored a goal on his full debut in a League Cup win over Shrewsbury, netted after just eight minutes of his Champions League bow against Olympiakos and also hit a hat-trick for England's Under-21 side in a 3-0 win over Iceland.
Wenger has already compared him with Wayne Rooney and Fabregas and Oxlade Chamberlain has continued to impress by hitting two goals in the 7-1 win over Blackburn two weeks ago.