Reece Oxford has been out on loan for all of three months now, and some fans are starting to get up in arms about his playing time at his adoptive club Borussia Mönchengladbach. We are here today to let you know that this is perfectly fine, and in fact, it makes sense — do not fret mon frere!
Fellow Brace the Hammer writer, Jonathan Lines, had this to say on the subject:
Surely we didn't expect he'd be straight up first choice. Gladbach have got [Matthias] Ginter and [Jannik] Vestergaard [at center-back].
Think the move will be really excellent for his development and he probably has a better chance of some action; but at the end of the day, we've loaned him to a team who are better than us, so. . .
Gladbach is a good side with a clever coach. Oxford will have time and space to grow without pressure. Look up Gladbach kids making it big. There have been a few, plus a few who still play there, having grown up at the club. They have some class players like Christoph Kramer and [Reece] will develop and grow a lot in the environment. He's first reserve which is better than West Ham. Who knows what may happen if he gets a chance.
Jonathan raises a few important points here, one being that Oxford is essentially in a better place learning in a Champions-League-level football program. If West Ham United played Borussia Mönchengladbach right now, they’d get absolutely handled. If Reece isn’t first choice at West Ham, how could any fan just expect him to walk on at a club that’s a regular participant in UEFA Champions League competition?
Reece Oxford is quite a player. We all know this. We saw it when he pocketed Mesut Özil as a 16-year-old. However, one good game two seasons ago does not a Premier League player make. Oxford is developing well, regardless of the playing time he’s getting. Obviously playing time is pertinent to player improvement, but the time Oxford is putting in — even just in training — at a club like Gladbach is doing a lot for his long-term development. Playing time will come eventually, surely. Should it not, though, this loan spell is better than another year playing in the Championship, or training with West Ham’s U21 squad.
At the end of the day, Reece Oxford is eighteen years old. He’s got plenty of time to establish himself as a top center-back. If we’re not absolutely certain that Oxford would be an upgrade over José Fonte, Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, or James Collins (injuries notwithstanding) at this point, then he’s better off in his current situation.