When I was 16 I was stressing over my GCSEs, filling my time with late night FIFA sessions, and dreaming about playing in the Premier League. Reece Oxford - a 16-year-old starlet from Edmonton - is living that dream.
After being ejected from Spurs’ youth system in 2011, Oxford was taken under West Ham’s wing and the Hammers have developed the talented youngster into an unbeatable centre-back.
On August 9, newly appointed manager Slaven Bilic awarded Oxford his Premier League debut against Arsenal, a team that had once rejected him for ‘not having the potential to play at the highest level’ - boy, were they wrong.
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The youngster operated out of his regular position, in the midfield and quite frankly played Gunners star Mesut Ozil out of the park, losing possession just once through his entire 79-minute performance. He guided the team towards a 2-0 ‘hammering’ of the title-contenders.
Oxford has already captained the U17 side and led the side at the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, where they reached the quarter-finals.
The youngster is already a staggering six feet and three inches - making him a huge physical presence - even around some of the Premier League’s most experienced players.
His physicality has earned him comparisons to a young Rio Ferdinand, whose footsteps I’m sure Oxford will be eager to follow.
The big clubs are already lining up to sign the wonderkid, with both Manchester United and Arsenal reportedly preparing to make an £8 million bid in the January transfer window.
However, West Ham will be keen to hold on very tightly to their starlet as FA regulations do not permit any club to write up a three-year contract with any player under the age of 18. Oxford will turn just 17 later this month.