West Ham prodigy Reece Oxford eyes under-17 World Cup spot with England

West Ham Upton Park

Young West Ham United star Reece Oxford says he has what it takes to lead England Under 17s to World Cup qualification later today.

The Young Lions, captained by the much talked about 16-year-old, were knocked out of the UEFA European U-17 Championship finals at the quarter-final stage by Russia.

But the tournament can still be a success if they can beat Spain in a one-off game to reach the World Cup in Chile.

Reece Oxford showed just why he is the England skipper by displaying great maturity ahead of the big game, insisting it is his job to rally the team to make their World Cup dream come true.

“It’s going to be a game but it shouldn’t be hard to raise ourselves for it – it’s a World Cup and we know that,” he told West Ham's official website.

"We may never get the chance to play in one again and we all want that experience.

“We’ve got a massive game against Spain coming up. I’ve got to get all the lads lifted as we still have the chance to go to the World Cup.

“It would be great if we can achieve that. You can really make a name for yourself at a World Cup. We want to get there to show how good we are and what we are capable of.”

Oxford came close to becoming the youngest ever player to feature for West Ham's first team when he made the bench on a number of occasions this season.

The towering defender, who is already 6ft 3 aged just 16, was linked with some of Europe's biggest clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, according to a report in the Daily Mail earlier this season.

But much to the delight of everyone connected with the Hammers, the Academy star rejected any overtures to sign a four-year professional deal with the club back in January.

Oxford has been likened to another brilliant centre-back who graduated from West Ham's famous Academy, Rio Ferdinand.

The youngster will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his namesake Reece Burke, who has made the breakthrough into West Ham's first team this season, aged just 18.

He will be focusing solely on England for the time being, though, with the crucial play-off match in Bulgaria kicking off at 2pm UK time. The club's official Twitter feed @whufc_official will be providing live updates.

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