Ian Pearce impressed by recent performance of Hammers youngster Reece Oxford

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Former West Ham United defender Ian Pearce has been impressed by young centre back Reece Oxford.

Former West Ham United defender Ian Pearce told talkSPORT that he was impressed by Reece Oxford’s comments following the club’s 3-0 win in the first leg of the Europa League qualifier against Lusitans last week.

The 16-year-old started the game for the Hammers and Pearce has suggested that there are encouraging signs, but admits the player has a long way to go before he features regularly under the guidance of Slaven Bilic.

“I’ve seen bits of him playing for the under-21 development team and he’s a very cultured player – I quite like what he said afterwards that he’s had a taste, it’s a great achievement but if we’re being honest, he’s not achieved anything yet,” he told talkSPORT.

“He’s got a long way to go, he gave the ball away a couple of times – Now he realises he’s got to step up a few notches and drive on.”

Impressive confidence

It would have been very easy for a player in Oxford’s position to have become overawed by the occasion last week.

However, he showed good confidence and was able to get on the ball, attempting to play some football by passing it out from the back.

It was always going to be a difficult game because he’s still a very young man and physically underdeveloped compared to some of the men he was playing against.

Build on the experience

Oxford is not going to be part of the West Ham side that starts the Premier League season.

However, he can take the benefits of the experience he’s just had and use them to his advantage as he goes about life with the under-21 side next year.

If he performs on that platform, he could be drafted in as a sub at some point or could be given a chance in one of the domestic cup competitions and when they arrives, he can cash in.

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