West Ham’s Reece Oxford praises Sam Allardyce’s defensive training

Sam Allardyce

Reece Oxford has praised Sam Allardyce for including him in West Ham’s first-team training.

16-year-old Oxford is considered one of the brightest talents in English football, and he has told the FA website that Allardyce is to thank for his development.

The youngster said: “The manager [Allardyce] is great when he is out on the pitch training us. I’ve learnt so much about defending since I’ve trained with the first-team. Putting your body on the line and how to pick the right time coming out from the back – I’m being taught how to properly defend.”

Oxford, a central defender, has yet to make his debut for the Hammers, but at the age of 16 he is considered as one of the brightest prospects in their academy system.

Allardyce has named him in six matchday squads this Premier League season, although he has yet to come off the bench due to the close nature of every game giving no chance for him to impress in a pressure free situation.

He is currently away with the England Under-17’s, whom he first captained at the age of 15, and is set to lead them to the European Under-17 Championship. England won the tournament last year, and Oxford will be looking to repeat that feat as skipper this month.

Allardyce often comes under criticism for his management style, and the rather defensive football that the plays, but for a youngster of Oxford’s talents, he is the perfect coach.

Brilliant at organising a back-line, he should aid the youngster’s development, and Oxford himself already believes he is benefiting from working under the former defender.

Allardyce looks likely to leave the Boleyn Ground this summer, but his contribution to West Ham should not be forgotten - especially if Oxford goes on to fulfil his undoubted potential as England’s best defensive prospects.

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