An opening fixture against an extremely strong Gunners side away is arguably the most daunting match West Ham could have wished for, thus handing Oxford, 16, his debut was a major shock.
However, the youngster played like a seasoned pro in the defensive midfield role, earning rave reviews from Lineker and Tottenham Hotspur coach Bradley Allen as his side completed a memorable 2-0 victory.
“We need to remind ourselves that Reece Oxford is 16. He's been simple but very effective. He was disciplined in that number four role in midfield for West Ham. Very impressive,” Allen told the BBC.
And well done Reece Oxford. A truly astonishing debut by the 16 year old.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) August 9, 2015
Up against an Arsenal side boasting top-quality attacking players such as Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Oxford did not fluster or get intimidated.
In possession, the teenager made 21 passes with a success rate of 95.2% - more than anyone else on the pitch – while he also contributed with three tackles and three interceptions.
It poses the question as to whether Bilic will stick with Oxford as his regular holding midfielder, considering new signing Pedro Obiang wasn’t in the match-day squad for the trip to the Emirates.
At 16, Oxford evidently has a massive future ahead of him but the club would be wise to control his progression carefully and not place too much pressure on his young shoulders.