Saturday 22 October 2016

West Ham starlet Reece Oxford (16): 'Spurs rejected me'

Reece Oxford
Reece Oxford

Reece Oxford has revealed that Tottenham rejected the chance to sign him before he joined West Ham.

The promising midfielder made his Premier League debut on Sunday in the 2-0 win at Arsenal aged 16 years and 236 days.

Despite being West Ham's youngest ever first-team player, he justified what had appeared a risky selection from manager Slaven Bilic by displaying a maturity beyond his years to largely nullify the collective threat of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla.

Given the reputations of each there is little question that Oxford's contribution was key to their victory. He joined West Ham at under-13 level after leaving Tottenham and, ultimately, Spurs' loss could repeatedly prove their rivals' gain.

"I was at Tottenham for a while, but they did not want me, and I went to West Ham, which was the best option for me," said Oxford, who is scheduled to receive his GCSE results next week.

"I was a striker back then (at Spurs). The (West Ham) youth academy is great. They like to push players, we have a few youngsters playing (in the) under-21s, which is good.

"West Ham have been giving the young players a chance who are coming through.

"Last season I was on the bench a few times, so I expected to be around the team again this season, but not starting against Arsenal."

Though West Ham have long had a reputation for developing promising young players - in recent years Mark Noble and James Tomkins are among those to regularly feature for the first team - the last England international the club produced was Glen Johnson in 2002-03.

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