Monday 26 September 2016

Reece Oxford focus

Published 09/08/2015 | 16:03

Sixteen-year-old Reece Oxford became the Premier League's seventh youngest player when he lined up against Arsenal
Sixteen-year-old Reece Oxford became the Premier League's seventh youngest player when he lined up against Arsenal

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic handed 16-year-old Reece Oxford his Barclays Premier League debut on Sunday as his side went on to win 2-0 at Arsenal.

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The England Under-17 skipper has already broken the record as the youngest player to ever represent the Hammers and, here, Press Association Sport analyses his display at the Emirates.

PERFORMANCE

Risen through the ranks as a classy, ball-playing defender who was once a reported target for Arsenal, but Bilic fancies the teenager as a defensive midfielder and he did not put a foot wrong despite coming up against the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Happy to issue orders to those around him before being replaced with 10 minutes to go by club captain Kevin Nolan. His development could mean that Bilic has filled a position without having to dip into the transfer market.

MATURITY

No-one would have pointed out the 16-year-old league debutant if asked to do so after kick-off. If he does continue in the side there are likely to be hiccups, but with the expected permanent arrival of Alex Song coupled with the likes of Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate, Oxford has plenty of experienced players to learn from.

WILL HE MAKE IT?

There is no reason to suggest not, even at this early stage. Oxford became the Premier League's seventh-youngest player but has international experience and a manager who appears ready to put faith in him to do a job in a role that demands so much.

Press Association

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