Premier League

Why Oxford Future Lies With German Giants

 • by Andrew Gibney
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When Reece Oxford made his Premier League debut for West Ham United against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, is seemed he had the world at his feet.

Destined for big things, you may as well have handed him the Ballon d’Or there and then.

Things have not quite gone to plan and on deadline day, the versatile defender, who is comfortable in midfield sealed a return to Germany, joining Borussia Monchengladbach for his second loan spell at the Bundesliga club.

“It was very important for us that Reece could come back to Mönchengladbach,” sporting director Max Eberl told Bundesliga.com.

“We’re particularly pleased that a player who didn’t play every game – in fact, he only played four – was still really keen to return. He saw what we had promised him in the summer was beginning to happen.

“Reece is very happy here and we’re very happy that he’s got another half-season with us.

“There is a third party, though, West Ham, who have a contract with Reece. Of course, we accept that. Hope springs eternal.”

The England Under-20 international, who is still only 19 years old, has only played three league games for Die Fohlen, but he is thought to really enjoy life in Germany and sees his future in the Bundesliga.

On the bench for 15 of their 21 games, he’s played at centre-back – only for one minute – right-back and defensive midfield.

Rather than throw him in at the deep end, they are willing to take their time and the player’s return shows he’s happy with his progression, rather than demand a move to a side where he’d find more minutes.

He must be doing something right. Back in December, BBC Sport reported interest from RB Leipzig and the new man in charge at the London Stadium was keen to bring him back to England in order to get a first-hand view of the teenager.

“I don’t know Reece, I’ve never worked with him, so I’ll take the time to have a look at him,” David Moyes said.

“I know he has been talked of very highly and I hope we can help him but it’ll take me a while to get to know what he does.”

His first full Bundesliga appearance came away at Freiburg, playing on the right of the back four.

During the game he played more conservatively than Oscar Wendt on the left, showing his defence first approach.

Only two players touched the ball more, he won eight headers and made a team high eight clearances.

Reece Oxford's interceptions

In his second game against Hamburg, he played in the centre of the park as the deepest midfielder, almost making a back three with the full-backs pushing on.

Oxford completed 82.6 per cent of his passes and made 61 touches – sixth in the team. He won two tackles and made three interceptions and three clearances as they won 3-1.

Although his appearances have been limited, when given a chance he’s impressed. Monchengladbach continue to be impressed, it would be a surprise if they don’t hand him more minutes during the second half of the season.

Oxford is contracted to the Hammers until 2021, so the German side will need to pay to land him permanently, that’s where teams like Leipzig could pounce and take advantage.

Ademola Lookman’s loan move to Leipzig signals a worrying shift as English youngsters move abroad to find minutes. It’s hard to see a situation where Oxford ever pulls on the Claret and Blue any time soon, which would be a blow to West Ham’s young set-up.

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