West Ham boss: Reece Oxford would benefit from staying with us
16:00 20 September 2016
West Ham’s young England defender has been linked with Man City and Man United
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic says the best place for young defender Reece Oxford is with the Hammers.
The 17-year-old England under-19 international has been linked with Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City and has stalled over signing a new long-term contract at the London Stadium.
But Bilic points towards the nurturing of Rio Ferdinand in the West Ham Academy which will hopefully spur the youngsters to stay.
“I think he would benefit from staying at West Ham,” said the Hammers manager as he prepares for the EFL Cup third round clash with Accrington Stanley on Wednesday night.
“You only have to look at some of the players who did stay with West Ham as youngsters like Rio Ferdinand who played in the same position and is of a similar stature to him.”
Ferdinand made his West Ham debut at the age of 17 and then made 10 appearances on loan at Bournemouth before establishing himself at Upton Park and making over 100 appearances in claret and blue.
West Ham then sold him to Leeds United for a whopping £18 million in 2000, though Bilic will be keen to keep hold of one of the club’s prized assets after such great young talent was sold.
Oxford made his Premier League debut at the start of last season with a superb display against Mezut Ozil and Arsenal and he finished the campaign by lifting the Premier League under-23 Cup after captaining the side to a two-legged victory over Hull City.
“We had Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe, among others. They were all players who went out on loan and then came back to become a regular first teamer and a world class player.”
Oxford’s chances at both United and City is likely to be limited with the Hammers already picking up youngsters in Martin Samuelsen from the Etihad and Ashley Fletcher from Old Trafford as they were not given a chance.
And Bilic is hoping that the defender is thinking along those lines, especially as he is expected to start in the League Cup.
“I know he hasn’t signed yet, but hopefully it is going to be sorted soon,” said Bilic.
All West Ham fans will be thinking the same thing and with the way the defence is playing at the moment, many want to see him more regularly in the first team.