West Ham centre back Reece Oxford, has joined Championship side Reading, on loan until the end of the season. This looks like a great move for all parties, as the defender will get valuable first team experience at a club who are third in the table.
Not to mention, the invaluable experience of an 18-year-old centre back learning from Reading manager, Jaap Stam. One of the finest defenders of his era and a cornerstone of the Manchester United team that won the Treble in 1999, [Premier League, Champions League & FA Cup].
Reading Chief Executive, Nigel Howe stated:
“Reece was a player who was wanted on loan by a number of clubs and we are absolutely delighted to have secured his services for the remainder of the season. He is young, but hungry for success and I am sure he will prove an excellent addition to our squad and learn a lot during his spell under Jaap Stam at Reading.”
There has been much speculation about Oxford this transfer window, it looked certain that he would join Rangers on loan for the season. Then, Nottingham Forest seemed to have secured the highly-rated Englishman. Perhaps Bilić was keen for one of his best young players to learn under a manager with a world class playing background, like Stam.
Oxford appears to have a bright future ahead of him and is regarded as one of the finest youth prospects in Britain. This summer, he attracted interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but turned these clubs down and inked a four-and-a-half-year contract in December.
The youngster turned heads when he became West Ham’s youngest ever player. Making his debut in a 3-0 win over Andorra’s FC Lusitans in the Europa League qualifying legs [July 2015].
One month later, Oxford made a stunning league debut at defensive midfield in the season opener against Arsenal. He earned rave reviews for his efforts shutting down Mesut Ozil during West Ham’s 2-0 victory.
Breaking News: 16 year old Reece Oxford to be grounded by his parents for 2 weeks after bullying Mesut Ozil at The Emirates today.— Damien Marshall (@DamoMarshall81) August 9, 2015
Oxford made a further six appearances during the 2015/16 campaign and earned himself the Young Hammer of the Year Award. He has yet to feature in the Premier League this season, making only two appearances in the Europa League. A loan move would be great for getting the player consistent first team experience.
The news of Oxford’s impending move to Reading was broken on Twitter this afternoon by Get Reading, who filmed the player entering the stadium.
The move was all-but confirmed by comments made to talkSPORT by West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan:
"It would be great for Reading and great for Reece. He is probably the best 18-year-old centre-back in the country, but he needs games."
Everybody wins with this deal. Reading get a chance to bolster their defence as they look to make a push for automatic promotion. Oxford gets a chance to have an extended run in the first team, and West Ham aid the development of one of their brightest prospects
Read more from Jack Kavanagh at Culture Hash